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Editorials

editorial

Hospital fees shouldn’t apply for treatments in doctors’ offices

When health care providers send out confounding medical bills thick with mysterious fees, it’s stressful to patients, and it illustrates a troubling lack of transparency within the health care system. Consider the case of local patient Robert Reed, who hhad three pre-cancerous spots treated with liquid nitrogen at a suburban dermatologist’s office last year — and was billed not just for the doctor’s visit, but for $1,525 in operating room and hospital charges.

Reed’s case, profiled in a recent Globe article, isn’t unusual. Amid widespread confusion about who’s paying whom and for what, it’s easy for costs to keep on going up. That’s why it’s important for medical bills to reflect the true price of the procedure — and avoid any add-ons that seem designed simply to take advantage of arcane insurance rules.

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