To get paid, hospitals get creative


Hospital bills are too high, and insurance doesn’t cover enough. Turns out, that’s a crisis for hospitals too: more and more of us aren’t paying those bills, because we can’t. So, they’re getting creative about collecting — and offering discounts. Which raises questions about why the bills are so high to begin with.

Photo courtesy James Crannell

We start with Chicago woodworker James Crannell, who — and there’s no non-scary way to say  this — stuck his finger in a table saw.

Even more scary: He didn’t have insurance. “I don’t know which was worse. The pain in my hand, or the fear of: What is this going to cost me?”

Spoiler alert: The emergency-room didn’t charge him full price.

This episode kicks off a series where we start asking: How did prices get so high to begin with?