When I was pregnant with my first child, I needed a prenatal test that could be performed only in a hospital. Unsure whether the procedure would be covered by insurance, I spent days calling area hospitals to inquire about costs. After all that effort, I received a list of billing codes from one hospital’s patient financial services department and instructions to call my insurance company to see how much it would pay so I could then calculate my out-of-pocket costs.
Exasperated, I gave up and decided to have the test at the hospital with the best reputation and closed my eyes, waiting for an exorbitant bill to arrive in the mail months later. Fortunately, my employer’s insurance plan did cover most of the cost.