"I took my mother-in-law to a Carle Convenient Care site," says Greg Springer.
They left frustrated knowing the visit could cost them a lot more money. July 1 brought a whole new billing system from Carle and brought a new fee for patients. It's a fee that was there before, but now its a bit bigger.
Carle wouldn't talk to WCIA-3 News, but patients say they are confused and unhappy about why they're paying more to see the doctor. Springer usually tries to avoid going to the doctor, but he did on July 1, and had a lot of questions.
"My understanding is that they're charging $205 every visit," says Springer.
From now on, people will get two different bills. One fee pays for your doctor's visit. The other is to take care of the actual building itself and supplies.
"I think its outrageous. I think it's gouging the system," says Springer.
WCIA-3 News was denied an interview with a Carle representative about the changes. On its website, it states $205 could be the charge patients see, it just depends on a person's insurance.
"I think the general attitude is to shrug it off and say the insurance will pay for it," says Springer.
That $205 ball-park number is already hefty. For someone like Springer, who's a freelance teacher and writer without coverage, it could break the bank.
"It would be $300 just to get my prescription filled," says Springer.
Carle's website says healthcare costs are rising and the added fee makes sure they get a fair cut. It also says whichever part of the fee not paid by insurance the patient would cover. However, at this point it isn't clear who will get charged what amount.
Like all Illinois' hospitals, Carle says it's not getting a lot of money back from the federal government. Some cuts will be spread over ten years.
The Affordable Care Act is taking $80 million. Lack of outpatient reimbursement will cost Carle nearly $2 million. It will also lose $35 million in medical education cuts.
In all, Carle says over the next decade, it will lose more than $145 million. $4 million will be cut this year.
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