Friday, December 2, 2011

Money and Medical Care - Exhibit A

I was going to take a look at the Friday Five, but I stopped by my health insurance website first.  The bills have started coming in.

Plastic surgeon, first procedure (there will be many more over the next several months):

About $7,000, with the insurance-negotiated fee about a third of that.

Breast surgeon:


Let me say that again.


It's in process, so I have no idea what the insurance payment will be.

The OR, anesthesiologists, and hospital haven't checked in yet.

I am feeling extremely grateful for the excellent insurance provided by my husband's employer.  We have a high out-of-pocket total, but we've long since reached it, so we have no obligations for the above.  One of the main reasons for scheduling this year and not next, sine we start at Zero again on 1/1.  A bizarre effect of The System: One of the surgeons told me they could have been out on the street looking for patients a few months earlier, but as the year winds to a close, there's a stampede.

I am also feeling horrified, in ways I cannot even pinpoint, about the general state of health care and how we pay for it in this country.

I suppose if we had no  insurance, I would have gone to the county hospital for a mastectomy and there would have been no thought of reconstruction.

If we had an 80-20 plan with no cap, we might have done the same thing.  I am guessing that the total bill, come next April or May, will be way over the $100,000 I had guessed several weeks ago.  Even if the negotiated costs were half that, I'm not sure that I would have wanted to invest $10,000 that we don't have in reconstructive surgery.

Now - I think I'll check out the Friday Five.


  1. It's shameful that Americans (or anybody for that matter) need to take into account how they can pay for something and when they can pay it when arranging to have medical procedures done. Absolutely shameful.

  2. When my husband had a stroke several years ago, our insurance company paid out over $200,000 in medical bills after negotiating the cost down. The 20 minute helicopter flight to the hospital was over $16,000. Had we not had insurance coverage, we would have been bankrupt.