Cost of specialized health care may cause problems for billing departments

Specialized medical procedures may set patients back more money than they expected.

Health care may be expensive in the United States, but prices for certain procedures can greatly differ between practices, specialists and states. Depending if the visit is at an academic hospital, accountable care organization or private office, practitioners may offer different prices for the same exact services.

Although the Affordable Care Act has made it more readily available for Americans to receive health insurance, it doesn't change the fact that the fees for these services may cost tens, hundreds or thousands of dollars.

The New York Times took a deeper look at some of the health care industry's highest paid specialists and found that even the simplest procedures can set a patient back on medical bills — accounts receivable management may need to keep a close eye on this potential problem in 2014.

"I felt like I was a hostage," Kim Little, a professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas told the Times on her experience getting  Mohs surgery. "I didn't have any clue how much they were going to bill. I had no idea it would be so much."

Her procedure consisted of support from an anesthesiologist, ophthalmologist and oncologist in different doctor's offices. Despite having health insurance coverage, Little's procedure cost about $25,000. Because more Americans will be visiting these practitioners and many others this year for the first time, they may be in for a rude awakening.

Depending on the surgery the patient may be going in for, they may be set back over $1,000 for a day procedure, while others that require overnight stays may accrue additional fees. If there is a point that a practice experiences a significant backlog of outstanding medical bills, consider reaching out to Professional Medical Services to alleviate this burden.