The Costs vs. Charges of Health Care, Part 2

Check out this list of charges for a doctor’s office visit from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital system in the Northeast:

List of Prices

I can say from experience, that most office visits are for routine, uncomplicated problems and are charged at the Moderate-Level Visit. Low-Level and Low-to-Moderate Level visits are rarely billed.

So to see a doctor for a routine visit in this healthcare system, new patients are charged $283, established patients are charged $165, and patients referred from another physician for a “consultation” can expect to pay $458.

But how much does it actually cost to actually visit with a doctor for 12 minutes?

Again, I can say from my own personal experience, it costs me nothing to see a patient. Except my time.

That’s not to say that I don’t have overhead expenses – like rent, insurance, staffing and equipment to name a few, but those are the costs to operate my clinic.

Not for me to sit down and talk with a patient.

In fact, when I see a patient and they pay me (since I don’t accept their health insurance), we could say that I’m actually profiting by seeing them. Or at least I’m offsetting the operating expenses I just described.

Which , considering that over half of the above charges come from a “facility fee” that is actually more than the professional charge (how much you pay the doctor).

Unlike hospital- and corporation-owned medical practices, at my clinic I don’t charge a facility fee. My charge for a routine visit is $99, which has my facility overhead built in.

Next up, we’ll consider some charges for popular procedures.


It’s not the COSTS of health care that are outrageous…it’s the CHARGES.

Physician. Health Insurance Agent. Author. Health care humorist. Medical satirist. Disruptor. At your service. My name is Kevin Wacasey, and I’ve been practicing medicine since 1994. When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm. But since health insurance took over health care over 40 years ago, health care prices have skyrocketed. And despite what we’re told by the media every day, it isn’t the costs of health care that are outrageous; it’s the charges. So if you’ve ever wondered why we spend so much on health insurance and health care, then come along and join me as I explore the crazy world of Healthcareonomics. Health care doesn’t have to be expensive. Let me show you how. For speaking opportunities and to pass along your questions/comments, please email me at

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Next ArticleThe Costs vs. Charges of Health Care, Part 3