How asking the right questions at the hospital could save you thousands

Posted at 11:27 AM, Apr 13, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- New price transparency rules this year can help you better estimate the cost of medical care, but some situations will still require patients to ask a lot of questions up front.

When Richmond mother, Anna Kreyling, was pregnant, she needed extra attention due to being a type 1 diabetic. That meant she needed additional ultrasounds, but she didn’t realize her regular OBGYN referred her to another doctor who would charge thousands more for the exact same procedure in the exact same building.

"Then they said “oh you were supposed to go upstairs because you’re high risk. It’s not a big deal. We’ll just have you go upstairs for the next one," said Kreyling.

Kreyling said she didn’t think it was a big deal, until the doctor upstairs sent her a bill.

What her regular OBGYN charged $145 for, cost well over $2,000 at the specialist located in the very same building.

The difference in this case, was Kreyling’s regular OBGYN is a private practice leasing office space on a hospital campus. The specialist works for the hospital as part of their healthcare system.

So even though they were both “in-network,” their pricing structures are completely different.

"If you're referred to someone other than your primary care provider, you should always ask questions of that other person of that other practice you've been referred to," said Julian Walker with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. "You should also always ask questions of your insurer to ask them, you know, are this is this practice? Is this provider in network with my coverage plan? If so, can you give me an estimate as to what this might cost?"

CBS 6 Problem Solvers helped Kreyling resolve the unexpected bill, and avoid incurring more expensive charges -- and most importantly, she delivered a healthy baby girl.

However, it’s a great reminder that even if you think it’s the same service from an in-network provider, questioning everything and everyone involved in your care, could save you money.

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