LUTZ, Fla. — It’s a surprise no one wants to get from their doctor: A pricey medical bill.

When one Lutz man got an $888 bill for a knee brace, he did some research and found he could have bought the same thing online for $125.

“It just struck me as odd that they’re not even offering me any options, they’re just giving me this and I’m going to have to pay,” said Peter Fernandez, who had knee surgery over the summer.

Fernandez only had to pay his doctor $133 out of pocket for the brace.

His insurance paid the remaining $755.

But he’s worried how charges like this drive up the cost of insurance for everyone.

“We have no say in it. You know? We just pay. And we pay blindly. And we’re subject to these insurance premiums going up, and up, and up, and up,” Fernandez said.

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TTT knee brace 11 19 19
An image of Peter Fernandez's knee brace.
Provided

Turn to 10 sent Fernandez’s bill to the National Patient Advocate Foundation, where a spokesperson said the charge is “not excessive.”

But that doesn’t mean you have to accept that cost.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Speak up: The foundation recommends patients ask questions ahead of surgery.
  2. Find out what medical equipment is needed post-op.
  3. Buy it directly because that could save a lot of money.

Fernandez said he plans to start speaking up at future appointments.

“The older I get, the more times I am going to see a doctor and I need to start asking more questions,” Fernandez said.

Do you have a consumer concern? Want us to look into something for you? If you do, you need to turn to 10! Simply send an email to Turnto10@wtsp.com and tell us your story!  

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