Georgann Boatright’s local hospital told her she’d need to pay an $8,000 “operating room” charge for a test she was pretty darn sure wouldn’t involve an operating room. So she went elsewhere, even though it meant driving to another state.

Avoiding that charge required more than just a willingness to go — literally — way out of her way.  Georgann Boatright has knowledge, skills, and grit that most of us don’t — although we can maybe learn a thing or two from her.

More and more, people are noticing sneaky new fees like the one Georgann spotted. They’re often called “facility fees,” and they’re kind of like a cover charge for walking through the door.

Hospitals say these fees go toward overhead on facilities with lots of specialized equipment —places like emergency rooms. But these fees have been increasing in recent years — and becoming more common: As hospitals buy up doctor’s offices, patients are starting to see them tacked onto bills for routine trips to the doctor.

We asked you to send us stories about facility fees. We heard from a ton of you and learned so much.

We’ve got lots of stories to share. And we’re starting with this epic tale — which also involves  the biggest facility fee charge we saw in all your submissions.

Here’s a transcript of this episode.

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