Friday, July 13, 2007

Odd numbers

I can now report that a tonsillectomy for a perpetually sick eight-year-old costs a grand total of $3,246.36. That extra 36 cents? That's not from the surgeon gouging us just a little bit extra. It's from one of the drugs Graceful was given. I'm not sure why they couldn't just either round up to the next dollar or shave off the pennies, but I'm finding that medical expenses just don't make a lot of sense.

For example, why did the surgeon's time -- 30 minutes in the operating room with Graceful -- cost $1,746? And why such a random number instead of, say, $1,500 or something equally round?

The anesthesiologist was a bargain by comparison -- $576 and he was putting stuff into Graceful, not taking things out.

I'm not actually complaining because I'm thrilled the girl will be free from the miseries of strep throat. And the fact is, we have insurance, which will cover most of the cost of her surgery. We're responsible for $390.14, which is far better than we'd thought, since we were concerned we'd have to pay for the bulk of the procedure. Part of the cost is $1.15 for lab work on the sick tonsils. Really. Why even bother billing us for that?

I'm actually rather put out with our insurance company right now because they're refusing to cover Elegant's occupational therapy, which is needed to help deal with some issues related to her ADHD. We had her assessed and the recommendation is that she have a minimum of eight OT sessions over the summer to help her with some problems with her fine motor skills. The insurance company is saying they won't pay for any of this, so we'll be out some serious cash by the end of the summer. But, it's what we do for our children, right? And, the fact is, we can do this. It won't break us. We won't go into debt or have to pay the bill in installments. We'll write a check and be done with it, which is a luxury a lot of parents don't have. So I'm not complaining, even though I think the insurance company is a collective corporate asshole.

So I'm thrilled that the insurance company decided that Graceful's tonsillectomy was in fact a necessary procedure and not something we did just because we felt like putting her through that kind of pain just for kicks.

And speaking of the girls, I'm off now to go pick them up from camp!


Julia said...

Sorry to hear about your $300 bill. This is unfathomable to me as a Canadian. $300 is something you begrudgingly spend on your car, but never for healthcare. Really is a concept to wrap one's head around... spending for healthcare. Now, you know I am not preaching. Just a cultural difference.

However, on the other hand, the reason my husband's high tech company shut down it's american offices and relocated up here was due to the huge savings they reap because the Canadian employees are covered by public health. No HMOs to pay for. Huge savings for corporate piggies. Huge, huge savings per employee, like in the tens of thousands. Also tax breaks, lower dollar, blah, blah, blah.

I would love to move for your climate, but better 1/2 refuses. Healthcare is one of the reasons. Ah well. Guess I'll just freeze my ass off. At least frostbite care will be free!!

(not preaching)

Lori Anderson Designs said...

Keep at your insurance company -- if the school system can evaluate her and say she is ADHD, they should pay for it. We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get Zack's SID and Speech paid for, but we got there.

Josie said...

Wow. As a Canadian I can not fathom having to spend that kind of money for healthcare.
I always think about the families in the US who have to pay these bills and may not have the funds. It's heartbreaking sometimes.
My company is US based and I have been asked a couple times to move there and while I would love to, 2 things keep me from saying yes.
One is my son is not done high school yet and the second is the cost of insurance and all the things they deny.
I'm glad the surgery went well. I was 17 when I had mine out and it was not fun :)