Monday, April 14, 2008


I wish I could say that this is how much money I earned in 2007, or how much I expect to earn in 2008, but sadly this is higher. This is how much my appendectomy cost.

Today I received a statement in the mail and just about fell over. It cost nearly $27,000 for me to have my appendix removed. #@*(%^@)#(!@)!!!!!!! Thankfully the "amount you owe" line says "$0.00" because my student health insurance covered everything. Imagine if it had been Jon instead of me? Or if I hadn't had health insurance? Would my bill be the same? I am completely baffled by how our health care system works.

My bill is itemized, and I'm going to type it out because I find it appalling and yet fascinating that I wracked up such high bills in so many categories in the 32 hours I was in the hospital.

Total of Room Charges $1,200.00
Pharmacy $208.50
Drugs/Generic $119.80
IV Solutions $550.20
Med/Surg Supplies $9,707.96
Laboratory $352.00
Lab/Chemistry $137.00
Lab/Hematology $220.00
Lab/Bact-Micro $368.00
Pathology $208.00
CT Scan $2956.00
Operating Room Services $5,935.00
Anesthesia $1,640.00
Emerg Room $1,233.00
Med-Sur Supp/Incdnt Rad $59.00
Drugs Specific $990.25
Recovery Room $859.00
Other Therapeutic Svcs $161.00

Total Charges $26,904.71

I thought the charges would come to $10-12,000 which goes to show how clueless I am about the costs of hospitalization. Here is a Wall Street Journal article from 2003 about the discrepancy between what a hospital charges to an uninsured patient versus a large insurance company that has negotiated big discounts. We need national health care!


Anne-Marie said...

This is pretty scary. What are "operating room services?" Possibly the most expensive paper gowns on the planet? And how can they charge you a "recovery room" fee, it seems like it should be taken for granted that you've got to wake up somewhere, and yet you're charged almost a thousand bucks...I'm really glad that your insurance covered everything! I hope your recovery is going well.

AZReam said...

see, they buy their stuff from all the wrong places - but you pick up the tab so it doesn't matter ;)

Beany said...

Good God! I am shocked it cost so much to remove something so tiny. Glad you didn't have to pay anything...but everything looks to be horribly inflated.

Paulina said...

note how supplies cost more than the services. Do they toss all the equipment after they've used it? I understand some things like needles, maybe even scalpels, but do they also toss the operating table?
I am having some dental woes right now because my dental insurance doesn't cover anything for some reason and I need a bridge, which means about $2000 out of pocket conservative estimate. Once I had an emergency fully impacted wisdom tooth removed for $500 all out of my pocket. Gah! I hope universal health insurance also means dental coverage.
Also, one time I was in a small car accident and the ambulance came (just in case I guess but I certainly didn't request it) and that costs too! Thankfully my insurance covered that but what if I didn't have any????

Leah said...

yup. Totally crazy. I've been in the ER two times. First time, it was $3,000 for 3 hours (allergic reaction to an antibiotic). Second time, it was just over $8k for 16 hours and lots of scans (biliary colitis, and not appendicitis, thank goodness).

I am also quite thankful for student health insurance!

sarcozona said...

Your student health insurance sounds much nicer than mine - but $1200 is still better than $6000. Not entirely sure where I can cut corners to pay the bill, but I guess I'll figure out some way to make it happen!