A Costly Egg Sandwich

I have a lot of experience with the medical system. Not just my transition, or my physical problems, but also my experience billing for insurance, running a clinic, etc. I have seen all sorts of ridiculousness.

Right now in my life there are a lot of doctors beyond just the transition. We are still working on the mass on my thyroid, and also the infamous espohagus/stomach issues and my vomiting. Right now we will talk about the esophagus/stomach issues and an example of why capitalistic medical system is bullshit.

I went into Kaiser on January 14th for a test that would trace radioactive material through my esophagus and into my stomach. I got a gastric emptying test, basically a test that detects how quickly my stomach breaks down and passes food through.

The end result was clear (meaning that isn’t the problem). However, the problem I had was the costs. They utilized a plain white bread fried egg white sandwich. No toppings, completely plain except it was coated in a specific radioactive substance that they tracked.

Most expensive plain egg white sandwich you will ever have. Could have at least used nice bread.

No big deal, the staff were incredibly nice and it tasted like a horribly bland egg sandwich. That is until I got the bill for it. I won’t even cover the cost of the procedure itself, just the cost of the material in the egg sandwich.

I am fortunate, I have medical insurance (an HMO) and they basically “charge” themselves for it. The total bill was about $1,853 or so for the procedure, they wrote off $590.16 to magically pay themselves (and also they still make a profit on that $1,200+ test.

The kicker was the $507.52 charge for the egg sandwich. Yes it is a radiopharmaceutical agent, but there is just something ridiculous about the cost. It appears they probably used Tc-99m Sulfur Colloid which the outdated information I had was $36 per dose. Let me be very generous and say the price increased 2.5 times or more and is $100 per dose.

That means for my sandwhich that should have probably cost $100 + less than $1 for the bread and eggs was a total of $101. Yet they charged me more than five times that much at $507 (and the odds are they got it closer to $50 and it is ten times as much).

This is why the capitalist system is bad for the individual. The government already payed the majority of the R&D (that is a whole other aspect), and yet they are still charging a minimum of 5-10 TIMES more then the cost for an agent that they don’t have to incur any danger with.

It is ridiculous, and I admit my yelling here won’t change anything, but it does make me feel a little better.