AR said "No matter how much is "written off" (and it is extreme, isn't it?), the Catch-22 is that if you don't have insurance you get to pay the full list price. The price only gets reduced to the "contracted amount" for those who DO have insurance. It's a very strange system."
I have been in offices where, if you don't have insurance the pricing is different (less) than the full list price. There is wiggle room for those without insurance; however, I do understand that the lesser price still can't be paid by many of those without insurance - therefore the full list price continues to rise for those with insurance in the hope that the insurance's "reasonable & customary" amount gets increased.
AR said "And, you can think it is good or think it is bad, but the extension of parents' benefits until age 27 was done with some reasoning behind it"
I was not aware of the reasoning, just recently found out. My DD#2 just graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy. She is 25 (to be 26 in November). I do understand the difficulty in finding a job along with the required wait periods for insurance to begin. She has been interviewing and has had a few job offers; two were part-time or "as needed" contract work which offers no insurance. I don't mind the extra coverage she will get, but I feel there are many out there that the funds could benefit better.
In the same thought, my DD#1's DSIL fell ill in her freshman year of college. She just graduated with her bachelor's after eight years (a major accomplishment that hit several newspapers). She had to drop out and extend her college due to her illness (leukemia - two types, stem-cell transplant, kidney transplant and several other related illnesses). Of course, she is past the age now, but it would have been a real help to her family.