A middle-aged Mississippi man has fallen victim to the trappings of the U.S.’s overly-complex medical billing system. Jimmie Taggart, a financial consultant, was billed $3,878.25 for a CT scan earlier this year and is now refusing to pay.
Taggart’s doctor at the North Mississippi Medical Center recommended he undergo a CT scan after a urine test indicated he had kidney stones. Before agreeing to the scan, Taggart was assured by the medical center that his insurance would cover the procedure.
Later on, a bill came in the mail stating that the scan cost $5,171 but his provider, Aetna, indicated that its in-network negotiated discount was only $1,292.75, leaving Taggart to pay the rest. At another outpatient diagnostic facility, such as Columbus Imaging Center, Taggart would have only paid $338. According to Healthcare Bluebook, this kind of CT scan can range from $338 to $2212, but the pricing tool has determined $406 to be a fair price. Medicare would pay $204.48 for this kind of service.
Taggart is now taking legal action against the hospital. He and his lawyer are citing that the Center’s charges could be considered price gouging. Although Taggart’s insurance is partially paid by his employer, he still shells out $300 a month for his premium.
"I think when they see (commercial) insurance, a bulb goes off in their head and they say, "Money!" Taggart told the Clarion Ledger. "That's a new clinic and they're trying to pay for it, that's what they're doing."