Is Your Doctor Charging You Extra for Asking Too Many Questions?
A Minnesota Woman Got a Surprise When She Was Charged for Asking Too Many Questions
You go to a doctor's appointment to ask questions, to seek the medical expertise that WebMD just can't provide you. But the next time you go to an appointment armed with a list of questions for your doctor, be prepared to incur an extra charge if you ask too many questions.
A Minnesota woman named Susan Krantz, who is a registered nurse herself and no stranger to the way the medical community works, recently received a bill for a doctor's visit and noticed a charge for $50.06, a charge she didn't understand.
When she called her medical provider, Park Nicollet, she was told she was being billed for an extra office visit, because she had asked too many questions during her appointment.
"You can be charged an extra office visit if you ask too many questions," Krantz told her local CBS news station, WCCO. "I said I don't understand that, because isn't that what this visit is for?"
Yes and no, a Park Nicollet rep explained to WCCO. The extra charge came about because of the codes medical offices must use to bill insurance companies for doctor's visits. If a doctor thinks the matters he or she addresses during an appointment go outside what the visit was originally scheduled to address, the appointment could become both a "wellness" visit and an "acute care" visit, and insurance companies require separate codes for each.
Park Nicollet, in a written statement to WCCO, explained that "the insurance company may require that patients pay or make a co-pay for services beyond the 'preventive' part of the appointment."
Krantz says it was one specific question that apparently led to the separate visit charge for her: she asked her doctor a question about her sore hip.
"As always the doctor's visit started out with her asking what questions do you have? And I had a little list," Krantz said. "'This one and this one and this one.' And she said, 'OK.'"