I had this same experience last year with the ankle and related health issues:
The bill arrives today and (without any itemization) totals up to -- are you ready? -- $116,749.00 (not included the cardiologist fees which are billed separately-- about another $6k).Doug told me he had the same experience, and I remember a conversation with a woman (waitress, uninsured) who was stuck paying full price for major surgery. If only she had a corporation or rich man to own her... Stand in the shadow of your padrone, baby, only the powerful can negotiate with the powerful.
I kid you not.
In a column lateral to the "amount billed" I then find the "amount allowed" i.e. the amount that Blue Cross is actually willing to pay the hospital. That amount: $4730, or less than 4% of the total charge. But wait, there's a footnote appended to the amount allowed. In fine print at the bottom of the page the annotation says that the provider accepts the amount allowed as payment in full and that I, the insured, owe nothing.