6 of 8
No control over costs
Lisa S., 44, Houston

"My story illustrates how little control patients have over costs given the current system. Early this year, I went to St. Luke's Hospital emergency room in Houston with what turned out to be a kidney stone. Treatment involved an IV ($100/hr for saline), a CAT scan, blood and urine tests. Afterward, questions about a cryptic itemized bill were extremely hard to get answers to."

"Several months later, I had similar, less acute symptoms. I went to St Luke's Minor Emergency Center on my doctor's advice. I asked them not to give me an IV unless they had a really good reason to do so. They didn't. I also asked them if a CAT scan was really necessary, or if an X-ray would tell them what they needed to know. They skipped the CAT scan and did the X-ray. "

"Do you think the bill to the insurance company or to me was lower in the second case than in the first? No. It was exactly the same. "

"What incentive do I have to participate in any national effort to save on health care costs? I have no control, getting cost information ahead of time is near impossible. So what's the point? I'm tired of feeling monetarily run over by the health care industry."

NEXT: A decision that made her sick, again

Last updated October 08 2009: 5:21 PM ET
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