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He and his wife both had Cataract Surgery but his bill was 20 times higher

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By Angela Hart / Kaiser Health News

Danilo Manimtim’s vision was cloudy and blurred — and it was growing worse.

The 73-year-old retired orthopedic surgeon in Fresno, Calif., knew it was time for cataract surgery. “It’s like car tires wearing out because you drive on them so much,” he said.

In December 2021, he went to the outpatient department of the local hospital to undergo the common procedure that usually replaces the natural eye lens with an artificial one and is designed to restore vision. The outpatient procedure went smoothly, and Manimtim healed over the next few weeks.

Manimtim, who has a job evaluating disability claims for the state of California, knows the health care system and keeps tabs on his health benefits. He knew he already had met his health insurance deductible for the year, so he expected a manageable out-of-pocket expense for the surgery. He calculated his coinsurance would be about $750.

Then the bills came.

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