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(Smart Money) — Michael Foley had a feeling it would be difficult to get a bargain price for an endoscopy, but just getting a quote from his local hospital turned out to be a surprising hurdle. According to the 49-year-old contractor from Freeland, Wash., the hospital declined to discuss specific prices on the phone. It did agree to send a range in writing, and quite a range it was: from $2,360 to $22,290, excluding physician charges. “If we all billed like that, we’d be millionaires,” Foley says. (A Whidbey General spokesperson says the hospital gives a broad price range for surgeries to cover complications that may occur.)

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