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Overcharged at the doctor's office?

Overcharged at the doctor's office?

By Matt Grant. CREATED Mar 5, 2012

BONITA SPRINGS - You may not question what your doctor prescribes for you but have you ever questioned whether you're paying too much?

A Bonita Springs patient, Maurya O'Dell, says she billed $499 for a piece of medical equipment she found online for $70.

When O'Dell tore a tissue in her foot her podiatrist prescribed her a black boot to wear. Doctors at the Foot and Ankle Group in Bonita Springs said she'd have to wear the boot for 4-8 weeks to stabilize her foot.

"I really didn't have a choice," said O'Dell, "because I was in so much pain."

While she walks at a good pace now, O"Dell says she wanted to run when she got the bill.

"I think it's just a ridiculous amount of money," she said.

The Foot and Ankle Group billed her $499.99 for the boot. The bill, shown to Fox 4, seems to show her insurance company paid $219 and she was responsible for $280.

O'Dell went online and found the exact same boot on sale for nearly $70 with a retail price of $109.

"I was totally surprised to see that it was $69.97," she said. "And they were trying to get a 700 percent markup on this item."

Fox 4 asked the Foot and Ankle Group about the charge. Marla Clawson and administrator and representative for the company called the $499 fee "very fair" since O'Dell got the medical boot that same day and didn't have to pay shipping costs.

Clawson told us administrative costs get factored in.

"The doctor's time, the nurse's time," said Clawson, who was reached by phone. "We have to pay for the product, the shipping, the liability."

When O'Dell called to ask about the charge, she claims a woman who answered was "rude." 

"She hung up the phone on me," said O'Dell. "And said, 'I hope you like ObamaCare.'"

The office rep was surprised to hear that.

"If there was proof that that happened I would most definitely give an apology," said Clawson. "And I would most definitely reprimand the employee appropriately."

O'Dell says she's already paid $90 towards the bill and will pay off the rest.

"Next time," she said, "I'm gonna do more research."

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com