As you all know, I broke my elbow about four weeks ago. I went to the ER to get it x-rayed and confirm it was broken. I was there for about an hour or so. They took about six x-rays, poked and prodded at my arm, felt my spine to see if everything seemed okay, provided me with a splint, a sling, and two Ace bandages, and then sent me on my way with a recommendation that I go see a bone doctor the next day. I went there, they looked at the x-rays, gave me two more Ace bandages and a nicer sling, and let me go with some more specific instructions and directions to go to physical therapy twice a week for four weeks. I’ve been doing that.
That all sounds good. I was treated well and continue to be happy with the level of medical attention I’ve been getting. No complaints there. And there’s really no complaints on the amount of money I personally have had to pay. I have great medical insurance. For the ER visit, I payed my copay of $25. I pay a copay of $20 for all the other visits. too. Fine.
But then my insurance company tells me how much gets charged for all of these visits, and things get a little screwy. That ER visit? Over 2,000 dollars. My visit to the bone doctor? Over $700.
I guess I just have a limited view on what all these things should cost. $2000? For what? My splint isn’t made out of solid gold. The Ace bandages don’t magically wrap themselves.
But I don’t worry about the total bill, because I have insurance. I pay my $25, and the insurance talks to the hospital from then on. It just seems to me that because actual, thinking human beings have been removed from the equation, the costs have skyrocketed. I’m not saying that people at the hospital or insurance business don’t think. I’m saying that the conversations are between companies, not people. When I talk to my doctor friends, they agree with me that the costs of health care are too high. Outlandishly high. But there’s nothing they can do about it.
Why are they as high as they are? I honestly don’t know. I have to think some of it is because of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. But I also have to think some of it is because companies–not people–are paying the bills, and so it’s removed from actual real budgets and goes off into theoretical wonderland, the same place government budgets come from.
But in the end, I’m not really informed about this–anyone out there with a better handle on how this all works? I’d love to hear some people “in the know” give me their take.
All I can say is thank goodness for my insurance. Because I certainly couldn’t pay $3,000 (when all’s said and done) for my broken elbow. It wasn’t even that bad of a break. This is why I have a full time job. This is why authors who wish they could write full time, can’t. Gotta have the insurance.