MANHATTAN – For a year now we’ve been bombarded with messages telling us to get tested for Covid-19– and for good reason– testing is one of the few tools we’ve had to save lives during this global pandemic. Here on the Upper East Side, Lenox Hill Hospital offered Covid testing to the public– but what they didn’t tell patients, left some stunned.
While Lenox Hill Hospital, located on East 77th street in the Yorkville, encouraged patients to get tested, they were unknowingly billing insurance companies for thousands— each time a nasal swab test done. As the New York Times notes, that’s roughly 30 times the cost of at test elsewhere.
“It was shocking to see a number like that,” Ana Roa told the after being billed for $3,358 by Lenox Hill for a test last month, adding “I’ve gotten tested before for about $135.” One family reportedly ran up a $39,314 bill for twelve tests throughout the winter.
But why are these costs so outrageous compared to competitors? An analysis from the Times found “that Lenox Hill arrives at its unusually high prices by charging a large fee for the test itself — about six times the typical charge — and by billing the encounter as a ‘moderately complex’ emergency room visit.”
Northwell Health, Lenox Hill Hospital’s parent company, defends the fees— one executive telling the Times “I don’t think of the emergency room as a testing site.”
The good news is this— individual patients won’t be on the hook for the sky high bills. Federal legislation makes coronavirus testing free for patients, so no individual people are getting hammered with testing costs in the tens of thousands— however, in reality we all pay for these costs. As insurance companies foot these massive testing bills, they will in turn hike costs for insurance premiums costing everyone money in the long run.