Friday, October 2, 2015

Bad PR

...Carlsbad resident Michael Krival thinks he got a taste of that medicine recently after his 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed by a UCLA specialist with a hormone disorder. She was prescribed a series of injections of a specialty drug called Lupron Depot. As far back as 1993, researchers deemed the drug "safe and efficacious." Krival said he and his wife booked an appointment for their daughter at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Before the scheduled visit, they received a written estimate from the hospital that their copay would be $500 for the first shot."That's a lot," Krival told me. "We understood that this drug must be expensive, but at least we knew how much we'd have to pay." They were told again that the copay would be $500 when they arrived for the appointment. The shot was administered by a nurse. It was all over in a few minutes. The bill arrived this month. Krival's copay wasn't $500. It was $3,908.71...

So what does UCLA have to say about Krival's experience? Amy Albin, a spokeswoman for UCLA Health Sciences, said the medical center got its wires crossed and mistakenly said the copay would be $500 when it was the deductible that was $500. She said the problem involved the way UCLA contacted Krival's insurer. "The error in our insurance verification process has been corrected," Albin said. She declined to comment on whether other patients have been affected by similar screw-ups. But it's not hard to imagine that others were misled but didn't question their bills...

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