Monday, August 27, 2007

The Cost of Pain Relief

...And the medical bills start rolling in. I am so, so thankful that Steve and I have great health insurance, so this is not a real concern for us. I don't know how people who don't have insurance survive. It is astounding to see how much the hospital charges for things before our insurance knocks it down to the negotiated rate. The pharmacy bill alone for my hospital stay was $935. NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

I took only two drugs while I was there: ibuprofen every six hours or so in postpartum recovery, and Lortab (a narcotic pain reliever) every four hours or so. Now if I round UP, my best guess is I might have taken about 8 ibuprofen and 12 Lortab, at maximum.

If you divide that out by $935, the logical conclusion is: I either need to buy stock in the company that makes Lortab...or I need to start buying generic ibuprofen and reselling it to Vanderbilt.

**UPDATE 9/4: Turns out Laura in the comments below was right. After reading her advice, I called Vanderbilt. Sure enough, we were billed for injections I never received. They've submitted a corrected claim to our insurance--not sure how much it is, but should be a little less unreasonable :) Makes me wonder, though, what other charges we are billed for that we shouldn't be...

8 comments:

Michelle McCallum said...

That's insane! We still haven't gotten any EOBs for my hospital stay. We'll see what they say.

Talk about craziness: David's stay in the NICU (13 days) cost a little more than $100,000. How could anyone possibly pay that without health insurance? I am so thankful that we did have it.

So we need more photos of your little man!! He is so adorable :)

kristin said...

How is that possible??? The total cost of my drugs was $1137.16 and that included my spinal with morphine, my IV, and an entire bottle of ibuprofen! (Although, I am still glad I didn't have to pay it!)

I don't know about you, but I am becoming increasingly thankful for health insurance and the husband that works so hard to provide it!

Marianne said...

I have amazing insurance; much better than my husband's. Reading your post terrified me and made me wonder if it's as good as I hope. Yikes.

I hope you and your little guy are doing well.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

michelle--we haven't gotten the eob yet...this was just vanderbilt notifying us how much they are going to bill our insurance for. what kills me is that insurance will come back and say, "$935? um, that's nice. no. we'll pay you $120.72." and vandy will go, "oh, ok."

kristin--wow, my hospital's drug purchaser needs to talk to your hospital's drug purchaser :) but yes, not only am i thankful for the insurance, i'm beyond thankful for the job steve has and the way he works so hard to take care of us!

Michelle McCallum said...

That's weird that my hospital never even told me how much I will owe them. Strange! They didn't with David either. Oh well :) I'm expecting an EOB any day now since it was nearly a month ago that Grace was born.

Laura from GCM said...

You might want to ask for an itemized bill just to see what they're really charging for. My hospital wasn't used to natural birthing and billed me for the iv drugs out of habit. I corrected them, and that changed the amount they charged the insurance. Just a thought.

And I agree with Michelle. Your little guy is adorable! :*)

Zoanna said...

Insurance rates are sky high because of this. My hubby is an underwriter and sees fraud ALL THE tIME. Our car insurance company got a bill from a towing company that did not actually tow our son's disabled car. It sat there all day. The only way we knew GEICO was billed is that we called to complain about the car never being towed.