Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rip Off By The TENS

TENS - short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is the application of electrical current through the skin for pain control. I have three cervical vertebrae with rather bad disc deterioration and bone spurs that impinge on the nerves going to my arms and hands; the pain in my left shoulder is considerable at times. It is getting worse.

After a year and a half of chiropractors and physical therapy that gave short term relief my orthopedic doctor gave me perscriptions for medication, a neck traction device and a TENS unit. A very nice Zynex representative came to my house two days later with the unit (about the size of a pocket calculator) and showed me how to use it. We discussed whether or not my health insurance would cover the cost of this unit and I asked her how the unit costs. She said "over three thousand dollars."

I nearly fell off my chair. Not a week before this I had asked one of my PT workers how much the big professional grade TENS unit they plug me into costs and was told it went for about six or seven hundred dollars. The little thingie she brought to the house goes for about five times as much! Well, my interest in owning a Zynex IF-8100 TENS unit went from 60 to zero in 4.3 seconds.

After the rep left, I hopped on the internet and googled "IF-8100 compatible." The second listing on the first page went to a site called ripoffreport.com - of course I was drawn there immediately. In short, a consumer reports that he was charged almost $3500 for a TENS unit whereas a compatible unit can be purchased elsewhere for $50.

I searched a number of sites and found all kinds of TENS units for under $100. You have to look hard to find one costing over $1000.

I told my internist about this and he was incensed. He is initiating a complaint against Zynex.

I am wondering why the orthopedic surgeon I consulted sent my prescription to Zynex? Is she getting a referral fee?


USA_Admiral said...

That just stinks of a huge referral fee. Does the surgeon even know they are charging outrageous prices for this device? Maybe he needs to know?

sig94 said...

I went to my physical therapist today and she was not shocked at the price even though she thought it was very high. It is an inferential TENS unit and they are more expensive than a regular TENS. Something about the electricla pulse - " It is a low frequency treatment that uses two medium frequency currents which "interfere" with each other to produce a beat frequency that the body recognizes as a low frequency energy source."

It is more effective than a regular TENS but I still see them on the net for under $200.

When my 60 day trial for this one is done, I'll buy one from her for thousands less. Her reason for the high insurance cost? There are people who pay nothing for these units - she blames the insurance companies for driving up the cost. She owns the PT shop that serves me and is not happy with the way that the Dems want to change the health care system. SHe syas that there are modifications that should be made but not what is on the table now.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I got billed $2500 for a TENS unit from Zynex Medical. This thing is junk, the rep was junk and the run around from the company is junk. My therapist said they will never allow the Zynex rep into their office again. Everyone was lied to. I'm in collections over my bill and I regret signing the contract (which has no pricing on it after looking it over). What a bunch of lousy crooks.

Anonymous said...

I had a significantly better experience. My insurance didn't cover the device but I was never charged for it. I've had it for two years now and it has greatly improved my mobility.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, hate the Zynex experience

Anonymous said...

nex not only cheats the customer they are stealing from the Insurance Companies. The cheap piece of equipment you receive isn't worth more than $10.00. Zynex treats their employees like cattle, and if you do not conform, you are GONE. They claim to provide a service but what they really want is your MONEY. The so called "Supervisors" are rediculously stupid and nepotism runs rampid as do other behaviors, which may not be appropriate at this time. The boss says cheat, they cheat. Zynex fires employees for reporting fraud and questioning accounting practices. An employee had a life expectancy of 6 months and that was if you were lucky. They have you change ICD9 codes illegally by making one up if another was incorrect, not indicated or was obsolete, Doctor's Prescriptions were being forged. ALL THAT WAS WANTED AT THIS COMPANY WAS MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, the owners of this company should be ashamed of themselves. With their big homes and fancy cars, one actually has a Lotus.

Anonymous said...

Holy guacamole, Anonymous person posting on 3/16/11...it sure sounds like you know that company. I temped at Zynex in the accounting department for a while, and I'll be damned if the whole thing wasn't just an old boys' club. All about who you know, and how popular you are with the higher-ups. That's how you get ahead there, not by working hard. Seriously, when I tell people about that place, they think I'm exaggerating or being paranoid. Nope, I was treated like dirt there (even though my work was nothing short of immaculate, efficient, and precise. They even grudgingly admitted this), because I didn't fit in with the clique. I cried at least once a week over how horrible I felt. And, more related to this post, working in the accounting department, I absolutely saw how many tax writeoffs and overcharges there were. They charge forty dollars for batteries to run the stupid TENS units. Must be some special battery! Nope, standard nine volts. UGH! I'm glad I found this, even though it's irrelevant to my life now. I never saw the owners driving a Lotus, but I do know every time I saw that Hummer with the ZYNEX2 license plate, I wanted to puke.

downpeta said...

I had a similar experience with RS Medical. Their device cost about $3,500! And it's a big blue thing that looks much like a desk calculator with the paper roll. I think these companies charge these prices because insurances pay these prices. I found out that a c-pap(?) breathing mask you wear at night costs nearly $6,000!!! It's a freaking gas mask with extra tubes! That's it. I think anything "medical" is price inflated.

Anonymous said...

I like the post from 11-24-10. So the company just gave you the unit for 2 years after your insurance company didn't pay for it??? Yeah right buddy!!! This joker is a Zynex Rep trying to save his business. Zynex sucks and always will. Good grief.

Anonymous said...

Another company, Avazzia markets the units in prices ranging from $800 to $1400. A friend of mine (and a group of other believers)uses one of the expensive ones for for pain management and other biofeedback treatments for allergies, diabetis, migraines etc.
He says the cheap machines are nonsense and the expensive ones really work, especially in the biofeedback arena.

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