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What’s Wrong with American Health Care System (everything, but here’s one thing)

One serious but relatively minor crash in terms of total bodily damage = $90468 bill. And that’s not the whole bill—it’s something like another $20K more.

This sort of thing can break someone (most people) financially without insurance. So we all pay far more, since they cannot.

$101.15 for Tylenol, for starters. An MRI for $7900 that is about $400 at Insight Imaging. $13760 for an overnight stay in a secondary facility bed, where the nurse could not manage to produce god-damned Tylenol for two hours while I was in pain, in spite of asking 3 or 4 times. Etcetera.

I’m not sure that this is all of it (the $5500 surgeons’s bill is not listed yet, at the least)—my insurance has stated that I owe $11000 or so, which is a cost for me that displaces all sorts of things, none of which involve niceties.

For many, medical care is an ongoing trauma for a year or so as the bills roll in and what with dueling with the insurance company. In the past, Stanford has billed me up to a year after the fact, so I wonder how this one will roll out.

Update: I called the insurance company. This is ONLY the hospital portion, for which (this is not a typo!) the insurance company paid out about US$64,800 to Stanford Hospital. It does NOT include other expenses (like surgery), for which I am on the hook for over $11,000, pending appeal. I was late on my monthly premium—had I not gurgled out instructions to my wife to pay it the next day (Dec 31), I’d have lost most of my life savings. This is sheer insanity—criminal IMO.

Update 2: I appealed the other charges (for which I was stated to owe about $11500). This is called a “grievance”. To Blue Shield’s credit, the appeal was granted “as a one-time exception”. I still have to wait 30 to 45 days to see what I owe, which will be at least the deductible ($5000) and co-pays (inscrutable as yet).

One visit to the Stanford Hospital Emergency Room
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