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Two weeks ago I wrote that I'd received the surgery bill. That wasn't the surgery bill. It was the one-night hospital stay bill. Today I received the surgery bill.

The hospital stay bill - which does have the description "outpt amb surgery", where "outpt" is outpatient, I'm not quite sure what "amb" means but it could be "ambulatory" - showed total charges of $30,347. Yes, that's right, thirty thousand dollars. When I discussed the surgery expenses at the surgeon's office, they gave me an estimate of about $16,000 for the work. So when I got this bill from the hospital, I presumed it was the total cost and was for whatever reason - perhaps having to stay overnight - nearly twice what the estimate was. But no, this turns out to be a wholly separate charge. The actual surgery bill, as in the bill from the surgeon for his services, is $15,208. And while I'm tallying up charges here, the anesthesiologist's bill that I mentioned before totalled $1,872. Thus, the total cost of the surgery - presuming more bills from who-knows-who aren't about to show up - was $47,427. Add another $2,275 onto that for my trip to the ER, and that's $49,702.

Now, my understanding of the insurance plan is that I'm responsible for up to $2,000 per year, and insurance covers 100% (for services that are covered, of course) after that. My share of the bills so far is $200 for the anesthesiologist, $948 for the hospital stay, and $198 for the ER visit, or $1,346 total. If my understanding of the insurance is correct, then I should be charged $654 for the surgeon's bill, and they should take care of the rest. However, the surgeon's bill shows my claim being "in process" and says the total's due on August 10th. Obviously I can't, and won't, pay them $15K while insurance gets settled. I'll have to call them Monday though and find out what's going on.

Being responsible for only about 4% of nearly $50,000 in necessary surgery is a pretty good thing. But I'd find it easier to be grateful if I weren't still worrying about paying that 4% and about whatever other debts will be added on top of that in the near future.

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Comments

( 9 have written — Write )
houseofglee
Aug. 5th, 2006 12:40 pm (UTC)
All that, and you're bemused? You're a stronger man than I am, Mr. Phil.
philaros
Aug. 5th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)
Well, it overflowed my absurdity buffer, hence I'm simply bemused. I mean really, I'd been told the operation would cost $16,000, and when it turns out it actually costs three times that, what else can I be but bemused?
the_seraph
Aug. 5th, 2006 01:14 pm (UTC)
I would encourage you to either not pay anything just yet, or only pay what you know you should have to pay.

Some insurance companies, from what I've heard from various billing departments, will refuse payment if you start paying on a bill (i.e. not your co-pay at the door, but an actual bill) because, they say, by paying on that bill, you have accepted it as your own. ::rolling eyes::

Anywho, I'd either find a way to a) call/go by the hospital's billing department and ask them how long it normally takes for your particular insurance company to pay their share and explain that you'll pay what ever they don't AFTER they've paid, and/or b) call/go by your insurance company with the bill, and hand it to them, asking them when they're going to cough up the dough and exactly how much isn't going to be covered.

But that's me.
philaros
Aug. 5th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like I said, I'm going to call the surgeon's office on Monday and make sure they realize I'm not paying anything to them until the insurance is resolved. Frankly the one thing that worries me is that insurance has already dealt with the hospital bill and the anesthesiologist bill, why haven't they addressed the surgeon's bill yet?
saint_errant
Aug. 5th, 2006 01:48 pm (UTC)
Never have I been so glad to live in a country with free health care.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 5th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Birthday party
You're invited to my birthday bash (http://bradthegorilla.blogspot.com/2006/08/birthday-party-on-august-14th.html) on August 14th. This is a BYOB (bring your own bananas) event, but since you don't like bananas, you don't have to bring any.
philaros
Aug. 5th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Birthday party
Now, Brad, you have my email address, why are you spamming my journal with this wholly off-topic comment?
(Anonymous)
Aug. 6th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Birthday party
I hardly think it's spamming when there's cake involved. Harumph. (By the way, that deleted comment was mine-- I am using my Landlady's computer, and she was still signed in. Double-harumph.)
Brad
houseofglee
Aug. 7th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
Is it spam if the House of Glee invites you over for dinner some night this week? :)

I don't have much to add to this conversation except for commiseration and sympathy.
( 9 have written — Write )

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