Insult to Injury

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That’s it! I’m done. I simply cannot afford to have another injury. Say what you will about Obama Care, or the Affordable Healthcare Act, or any other bills and laws you want to talk about…something needs to be done about healthcare in the United States.

You are probably aware of my injuries, as they have been well documented on this blog. You are probably not aware, of how much said injuries cost.

I have health insurance. Because our family is very healthy, with no chronic conditions, or regular medications, we opted for a relatively high deductible for our plan. Up until now, it was a very wise decision.

In November, I fractured my knee. Due to the sorry state of emergency rooms in lower Manhattan post Hurricane Sandy, I toughed it out, and saw my doctor in the office, as opposed to being treated right away at the hospital. Because he is on my health plan, I was covered. He referred me to an orthopedist, who was also on the plan. My MRI was pre-approved by insurance, and fully covered. So far, so good.

January arrived, and I began physical therapy at an approved facility, for an approved amount of sessions. I went religiously, twice a week for 3 months, and I am happy to report a full recovery. However, physical therapy was not on my plan, and I needed to meet the $5700 deductible before my coverage kicked in. At $104 per session, that added up quickly.

Fast forward to June, when I foolishly and instinctively grabbed a pot of hot wax, which was boiling over, and severely burned my hand.
Again, I saw my doctor who referred me to the emergency room at the hospital they were affiliated with.  I was fast tracked through, and after only about 30 minutes, I was bandaged up by a nurse and referred to another hospital that had a burn specialist. When the other hospital could not schedule an appointment for 5 days, they urged me to come to their emergency room, where the specialist could treat me. I was seen by several doctors and residents, and finally admitted to the burn unit for care,where I spent 2 days. I was released at my own request, and treated at home by a visiting nurse, which my insurance company approved. I also had a subsequent visit with the burn unit doctor shortly after my release.

The bills are starting to arrive, and the shock almost sent me back to the hospital with a heart attack. Talk about adding insult to injury!
ER # 1 billed $1250.

ER# 2 billed $250.( considered the more renowned of the two, and listed as one of the higher priced hospitals in New York )

The hospital stay for 2 days*(admitted at 11:30 pm Sunday and released mid day on Tuesday) costs $15,500!

The follow up visit with a doctor at the burn center (where I was kept waiting for 2 hours,) was billed at $350.

Not only are these numbers staggering, but also the sheer difference in the two ER visits, is astounding.  How are us normal 99% ers supposed to be able to pay these prices?

In 2011, the median income per capita in the United States was $27,500 annually.

If you do the math, my injuries for the first 6 months of the year, added up to almost $20,000 that were not initially covered by insurance, not including prescriptions and assorted and sundry orthopedic devices for knees and hands. Thankfully, my insurance will cover a large portion of this after my deductible is paid, but my out of pocket expenses are still exorbitant and unaffordable to most.

Comparative price studies are being released, and the discrepancies are mind-boggling. With literally tens of thousands of dollars in differences being shown not only from state to state, but within a 15-block radius in New York City, it seems indisputable that something must be done.

While I am considered lucky for even having expensive medical insurance, many people lack coverage completely. What do we propose doing for them?

To see some of the differences in hospital prices, and get a link to the government data base, click here:

In the meantime, I could have hired a top notch personal trainer, who would have worked my whole body, not just one knee, for the same price as a physical therapist. I could have also spent a week in a luxury hotel with delicious room service and a hot doctor to check in on me, for what 36 hours in the hospital with inedible food cost. Perhaps we should think about alternative care for the future, if the prices continue to be so astronomical.

photo: glasshouse images

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2 Responses to “Insult to Injury”

  1. attethersend Says:

    Over here in the UK we complain about our National Health Service but after gulping at those prices I feel relieved that we don’t get bills for treatments. Shocking. 🙂 xx

  2. Nazaire Says:

    Hi my pal! I want to state that this informative article is astounding, nice published and come together with nearly all critical infos. I wish to find additional articles such as this .

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