The $18,000 Breast Biopsy: When Having Insurance Costs You a Bundle

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Health

When Dani Yuengling felt a lump in her right breast last summer, she tried to ignore it.

She was 35, the same age her mother had been when she received a breast cancer diagnosis in 1997. The disease eventually killed Yuengling’s mom in 2017.

“It was the hardest experience, seeing her suffer,” said Yuengling, who lives in Conway, South Carolina.

After a mammogram confirmed the lump needed further investigation, Yuengling scheduled a breast biopsy for Valentine’s Day this year at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach.

Among many concerns she had ahead of that appointment — the first being a potential cancer diagnosis — Yuengling needed to know how much the biopsy would cost. She has a $6,000 annual deductible — the amount her health plan requires she pay before its contribution kicks in — and she wasn’t close to hitting that. Whatever the procedure cost, Yuengling knew she’d be on the hook for most of it.

But the hospital wouldn’t give her a price. She was told her providers wouldn’t know what type of biopsy needle they needed until the procedure was underway and that would impact the price.

The hospital’s online “Patient Payment Estimator” showed Yuengling an uninsured patient would owe about $1,400 for the procedure.

“That’s fine. No big deal,” …

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