Gut Rumbles

August 04, 2003

holey moley!

I have been a complete slackard about domestic duties of late. I never did cut the grass before I went on vacation and I just didn't feel like doing it when I got back home. My yard is a jungle now.

I've been collecting the mail and throwing it unopened on the coffee table for almost two weeks, and I know that some of those envelopes contain bills that I should pay before guys in uniforms who drive trucks with "GEORGIA POWER," "EFFINGHAM COUNTY WATER CO." and "DISH NETWORK" show up at the Crackerbox to make me live like the Unabomber for a while. I opened them when I arrived home from work today.

Okay, I need to send JB his $20 tomorrow with a letter of apology for not doing it sooner. Not late on any of these others except MCI and I cancelled with those bastards months ago over Danny Glover being their spokes-leftist. I don't owe them a goddam dime. No trouble, so far.

Then I opened the envelope from Memorial Hospital with the two-page blue document inside. It was the itemized bill for my bionic dick installation. The doc said the procedure would cost between $12,000 and $15,000. I looked at the bill and rescheduled my Thursday appointment for tomorrow, at 2:45 in the afternoon. The doc has some 'splainin' to do.

The implant ITSELF, just the bionic dick, was $16,707.55. "Medical-Surgical supplies" were another $7,662.01. The "recovery room," where I spent less than four hours, was $1,718.15. I am hoping like hell that "Operating room services" of $7,151.71 include the doctor's bill, because the total right now is $34,099.55. That's for a LESS THAN two-hour operation and six hours total in the hospital.

My insurance will pay 80% of that up to my total out-of-pocket for ME of $3,500, then they'll pick up the rest. Do the math. As an English Major, I don't do math, but it looks to me like I'm out $3,500 for this little episode.

This goddam bionic dick better work like a Swiss clock. I could have bought a Picasso for what it cost.


Ask for the complete details of every "lumped-together" listing; i.e., how many sponges, how many cc's of each medication administered via IV, exact minutes in surgery, exact minutes in recovery, etc., etc., etc.

Since you are personally responisble for a part of each one, you have a right to an itemized listing. Don't let them try to waltz you around, and battle about every detail you think may not be correct. It's surprising how many will "disappear".

Posted by: MommaBear on August 4, 2003 05:50 PM

Mommabear gives excellent advice. I've had hospitals drop thousands of charges and offer me a "settlement" because they were tired of my endless requests for proof of service/supplies.

Posted by: Tig on August 4, 2003 06:05 PM

Seems to me it cost in the $40,000 range for my Love's *installation.* But I agree with the other commentors.....make them itemize!

Posted by: DogsDon'tPurr on August 4, 2003 09:28 PM

Maybe you could rent it out for awhile till yu get it paid off.

Posted by: ken on August 5, 2003 06:10 AM

Yes, I'd say your doc has some "splainin" to do... And, from what you have said about him here in past blogs, I'm wondering if he might not have webbed feet!

Posted by: Bob on August 5, 2003 08:01 AM

Ask your insurance company if that's the real, no-shit, FINAL bill or just the starting point in the negotiations. I had an angiogram last year after a bout of chest pains. (Fortunately the whole thing was a false alarm.) The initial bill from the hospital for this very routine procedure was over $17,000. My insurance company told me not to even THINK of paying any percentage of that until after they and the hospital had gone through the standard routine of haggling it down. It took several months, but the final negotiated bill was more like $4,000, with me paying 20% of that.

These outrageously high hospital bills are total bullshit, just the starting point for the bargaining sessions. I have a friend who's a nurse, and she told me that if someone came in needing a procedure with no insurance and lots of money, willing to say Just do it and I'll write you a check, standard procedure would be to give him an 80 to 90% discount right from the start. Those "prices" are fiction.

Talk to your insurance company.

Posted by: Steve Teeter on August 5, 2003 09:41 AM

But would the Picasso have gotten you laid?

Posted by: Daniel Day on August 5, 2003 01:56 PM
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