NBC 4 New York was looking into America’s troubled healthcare system when it turned up the story of a man named Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski of Bayonne, NJ. Hanusz-Rajkowski went to the Bayonne Medical Center–a for-profit hospital owned by Carepoint Health–to have his finger looked at after he’d injured it with a hammer. The hospital determined that no stitches were necessary. The Bayonne Medical Center staff gave the patient what he required: a tetanus shot and a bandage. And a bill–for about $8,600!
The hospital says the high cost was because the patient was–you’ll know the term–“out of network.” Hospital management blamed insurance companies for not negotiating fair prices, leaving the hospital no choice but to deny certain insurance plans–in Hanusz-Rajkowski’s case, United Healthcare. The NBC report has Linda Schwimmer, a healthcare advocate at the NJ Health Care Quality Institute, saying that the price should have been much lower. “I can tell you the right price is somewhere between the neighborhood of $400 and $1,000,” Schwimmer said. So it really should have been just $1000, that bandage.