It’s getting expensive to stay alive

The bills have been tallied.  During these past 12 months,  I’ve managed to rack-up an astounding $492,338.53 in hospital bills. Add to that, all the outpatient clinic charges, prescription costs and so on, and we’re easily over the half million dollar mark.  That’s pretty scary.

Did you know , that a single day in the Intensive Care Unit at UCSF medical center in San Francisco, now runs almost $16,000. For that price you get the Nurses, Physicians and a monitored bed.  Everything else is charged separately! Even If you’re lucky enough not to need the ICU, a bed in the step down unit will still cost you $5,000 a day.  I think a regular semi-private room on the medical ward goes for around $2000. I’m not sure , because Ive never actually stayed in a regular hospital room. They always put me in ICU or TCU (whether I think I need it or not.)

I’m extremely fortunate (at least for the time being), that I have good medical insurance and don’t have to pay the bill. But, looking though the itemized charges, I quickly found over $50,000 in billing errors and/or charges for stuff I never received!   For example…$150 for a pediatric airway adapter?? ( I don”t even know what that is) How about $600.00 for Bipap masks when I wasn’t even on Bipap? One of my favorites though , is $ 900.00 for a bottle of Flonase. You know…nasal spray? And how about the legitimate charges; $190.00 for a single nebulizer treatment. $500 per day for Oxygen, $200 for a single blood gas, or how about $3000 per day if you need a ventilator? I wonder if the insurance companies ever bother to scrutinize these line- by- line charges? I know they have contracted rates with the hospital and end up paying less than 10 cents on the dollar anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter to them. I’m just floored every time I receive a hospital bill.

Bill for the most recent stayThe bill before thatAnd so on How on earth do people with serious health problems survive without insurance?

PS…As of Oct 1st 2009, the average cost of an ICU bed in San Francisco is $19,000 per day..and that doesn’t include any extras.

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