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  • Writer's pictureMike Del Ninno

What I Didn’t Learn from a Day at the Hospital

Someone close to me just had an emergency appendectomy; I won't say who, ya know, Hipaa Law and all. Plus, my wife would kill me. I learned a lot from the experience. Mainly how confusing the medical field is, and I think, likes it that way.

First of all, let me say our family doctor is awesome! I texted her in the early AM, and she hooked us up with an on-site hospital surgeon, who after the CT scan, sucked out the swollen appendix. I assumed my surgical and hospitalization insurance was going to cover something, but with a $5,000 deductible, I wasn't quite sure how much. In fact, I didn't ask figuring it had to be done anyway.

We thought we would get lucky and be sent home, but with such a late afternoon procedure, one night in the hospital was a given. We're grateful she's doing OK. But given time to reflect, there were a few oddities. First, the antibiotic IV wasn't working properly. No drip. So they just pulled it. Gee, maybe fixing it would be a better solution. Then, she noticed her back molar was broken, maybe during anesthesia? Finally, during discharge, they didn't have any paperwork or insurance coverage information complete, so they just said, we'll call you.

After the anesthesia wore off, and we felt a little better, we called the hospital wondering how much this deal was going to set us back, plus we were curious about that tooth. The hospital told us the surgery was $16k, but we were in network, and the allowable was $7600. I wonder who pays the $8,400 difference. Our deductible was $5,000, so that leaves $2,600, of which I pay 20% ($520). Add the $520 to the $5,000 deductible and bingo; $5,520 out of pocket, Ouch!

Nicky from the financial education department, AKA bill collections, was nice (like a hammer). Payment was required without any detailed billing or documentation, credit card please. But wait a minute, what about that tooth? We called the hospital, but it seems we signed a bunch of forms so we could actually have the surgery, and released all liability (no matter how negligent). Oh, and we needed a few antibiotic pills to make up for that broken IV machine. Funny how infection creeps in after your gut is opened and poked around.

We finally received the itemized bill for $19,600. I thought it was $16k? Ah, that's why they don't want you to have any paperwork when they ask for payment, more billing shenanigans. Of course it wouldn't make much difference, unless you can decipher a detailed hospital bill. Anyone know what a TRC ENDO NBO STAB SLV is for $234?

Stay healthy my friends. The Health Care and Insurance field definitely leads to medical craziness.

And to top it all off, I just received my property tax bill. In addition to my premium, co-pays, deductibles, and out of pocket expenses, I'm also paying into the local hospital taxing district, of which I receive no benefit. When will the madness stop!

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