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Can a health care company make enough people mad about its billing practices that its business is hurt? For one genetic testing company, maybe. 

An “Arm and a Leg” listener got a test that has become routine in early pregnancy: noninvasive prenatal testing. It was supposed to be $99. But then — after she took the test — that turned into $250. And when she asked questions, she was told it could go up to $800 if she didn’t pay up quickly. The patient looked up the testing company and found that lots of people had experienced what she called “the genetic testing bait-and-switch.”

And importantly — she’s not the only one who noticed. When some guys on Wall Street, plus a New York Times reporter, started hearing about those bills, the company found itself in hot water. 

“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

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By Dan Weissmann
Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.