Ungentle benzo

Why all this screwing around with health-care coverage, or lack thereof, doesn’t really mean a damn thing in the long run:

A single dose of the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam — the generic version of Ativan — will run you about 14 cents at Safeway or Target.

At Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, the same pill goes for nearly $2,000.

At least that’s the impression Laurie Leigh came away with after being so overcome with grief when her 90-year-old father died at the hospital that she fainted at his bedside. She subsequently received a pill to soothe her nerves.

Leigh’s insurer, Blue Shield of California, covered about $200 of the bill, leaving her holding the bag for more than $1,700.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they charged her two grand for an Ativan; they also took her blood pressure and set her in a vacant bed in the ER for about an hour and a half. The tablet itself was a hair under $20. Still, you can buy thirty of them at Walmart for four bucks.

For the record, CFI Care — not its real initials — would have paid about $1360 had this happened to me, had I reached my annual deductible, which I think I’ve done twice in the last quarter-century.


  1. okie1701 »

    7 June 2015 · 5:52 am

    And yet if she’d been at my local hospital and claimed no insurance? They’d have taken 64% off the total bill. At least, that’s what they did with me last year.

    “I understand since I have no insurance coverage I will be given a discount of 64% off of total charges to reduce my patient responsibility.”
    is something I initialed in the E.R. Apparently. I don’t remember it but it has my initials…lack of oxygen tends to affect memory. =)

  2. McGehee »

    7 June 2015 · 9:57 am

    Anything I could possibly say about her … experience … would reek of insensitivity.

    I’ll just leave it at, “Excessive drama should cost you.”

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