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September 2010
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December 2010

University of Utah Clinics Raise Cost of Visit by 69%

Last month I needed my eyes examined.  Since I don't have vision insurance I asked how much it would be.  The answer "$76".   The next week I went in and got my exam, pulled out my check book and was told "$137".  Turns out the billing people decided to raise the rates 69% over the weekend. Aa

It took me a month to figure out what happened.  CPT 92004 "Comprehensive eye examination" was $95, but cash got you a 30% discount.  The following week CPT 92004 was now $161 and they charged for CPT 92015 "determination of refractive state" (e.g. what is your lens prescription) $35.    Why the change?   Because the bean counters determined that since insurance would pay up to that amount, they would charge that amount.   And since only 5% of their business doesn't have insurance, oh well, too bad.

So your insurance premiums go up and your employer pays more.  What's interesting is that Medicare will pay for CPT 92004 at $96.   So the U is charging people with private insurance 68% more than Medicare.  Ouch!

In fairness, the people at the clinic who actually deal with patients / customers are very upset at what the bean counters have done.  It's sad when a clinic is forced down the path of maximizing revenue over providing effecient and cost effective care.   And this just illustrates why the Affordable Care Act passed.