Last Thanksgiving my son fell off our playground and broke his arm (just as 40 guests were arriving… read that story here). Subsequently, we spent what I’m now learning was the most expensive hour of his life (and most likely mine too!) at the hospital.
When I suspected my son’s wrist was broken, I called the pediatrician who recommended I take him to the ER. So we did. There was no one else there, we were seen right away (by a rude male nurse who threatened to “hold you down” when my son squirmed away from the little heart-rate-finger-clip-thingy), and spent less than an hour total at the hospital (followed by a visit to an orthopedist to confirm the diagnosis –fracture– and actually put on a cast). The hospital did nothing but take an X-ray, wrap my son’s arm in tape and recommend an orthopedist.
Yet, the bills have slowly trickled in… First I paid $270. Then $8. Lots of “explanation of benefits” that don’t really explain anything arrived from our insurance company, and I thought we were done. Then, nearly 3 months post-fall, we get hit with a bill for $730. Our insurance company says they already paid $1,119 and the remainder is “our responsibility”. When I asked why I was getting a new bill I was told the $270 was for the doctor we saw at the hospital (honestly, I can’t remember seeing one), and the $730 is for the facility (seems everyone bills separately). Not sure about the $8 — maybe that’s for the air we breathed while in the waiting room.
Overall, the yes-it’s-broken-now-leave hospital visit cost us out-of-pocket over $1,000. They won’t give us a “private pay” discount since our insurance company paid roughly that amount also, meaning an hour in the ER (and a donated teddy bear) costs over $2,000. And this doesn’t include $500 to the orthopedist we went to straight from the hospital who re-examined the X-rays and put a blue cast on my little boy.
So my son’s fall off the playground cost over $2,500, and despite a direct withdraw from our bank account each month for health insurance, $1,500 came out-of-our-pocket. That’s ridiculous. What is wrong with our health care system that we have to fork over that kind of dough for a simple broken wrist? I just hope we’re done with the broken bones, and the bills.