Kidney stones are not cheap.

Many of you know that I had a visit from Mr. Stone about a week and a half ago. He stopped by to see me on a Sunday afternoon. I got to the hospital about 4. I was home, heavily medicated by about 9:30 that evening.

Yesterday and today brought envelopes from my insurance company and the hospital.

The insurer and the hospital agree that the total charges for my visit were nearly $3500. Keep in mind, I was in the building less than 6 hours. About ninety minutes of that time was spent in the waiting room, curled up like a boiled shrimp and praying for a stone column to fall and put me out of my misery.

Good reading, if you are seven.

Actually, that isn’t really fair. I didn’t just curl up like a boiled shrimp and pray for death. I also read a copy of Highlights magazine.  I learned from reading it that it is rude to wail, no matter how much agony I am in. Yeah, you gotta love Highlights.

You know, if you’re going to get three grand out of this, hospital, perhaps you could invest in something people over eight enjoy reading?

My Insurance statement is odd. It says the hospital charges are $3500. Then there is a column that says “Amount you don’t owe”. That is different from the next column, the amount the company is going to pay. The final column is what my insurer says I will be paying for this event…about $500, on top of the $150 I paid the hospital the day of Mr. Stone’s visit.

Pretty much what happened is that the insurer took what the hospital was charging, decided neither of us would pay about half of that amount. Then, despite the fact that I’ve handed over boat loads of money to them this year (in addition to what they get from my employer) I still have to pay.

I have no idea why I don’t have to pay anything in the “Amount you don’t owe” column. Perhaps if I don’t owe it, and they don’t owe it, we need to not discuss it. Writing it down and mailing it around doesn’t seem like a good idea to me. It is sort of like Nixon taping himself talking about Watergate.

I also don’t know why I’m paying the amount that I supposedly do owe. That is what I pay the insurer to do for me. Obviously that was just a fantasy.

If my insurance company is not going to pay for me to be treated, why are we maintaining the roles we have. I am effective at getting sick, but they are ineffective at paying for me getting sick. Maybe the solution is a reversal.

No, I wont be paying for your treatment because, well, screw you, I bought a Jeep with your money

The insurance company can give me money. Then, when they get sick, I will tell them I am just not into paying their bill. Maybe I’ll be nice about it and tell them I just am a little short of cash and need them to pitch in. I won’t tell them that I will have bought a Jeep with the money they gave me and that is why I need them to pay about 20% of the bill for me.

I am good about paying my bills. If I change places with my insurance company, that will have to change.

I guess I’ll find out what the truth is soon, after the insurer and the hospital decide what truth looks like.


8 Comments on “Kidney stones are not cheap.”

  1. Kathi D says:

    Insurance companies are robbers. Andrew Tobias wrote a book about them years ago called The Invisible Bankers (because, surprise! insurance companies have control of lots more money than banks do).

  2. Kate says:

    So, you read Highlights for the articles?

    Regarding the insurance company situation, I have felt for a long time that everyone needs to have access to insurance so at least they have someone fighting to lower the cost of medical bills. If I get sick and go to the doctor, there’s always some portion the insurance company won’t pay and so it gets wiped from my bill. Awesome sauce. However, if I didn’t have insurance and I got sick, I’d have to pay every penny of the bill because I’d have no one in the middle to help me fight it. Having worked for insurance companies for several years in the past, I totally hate them, but I realize they do have some value where my pocketbook is concerned.

  3. omawarisan says:

    Oh they’ve clearly got control of money…and people.

    Kate, I agree, access to insurance is critical. It is shameful there is even a debate from some folks on that. I just think for what we put into it, there ought to be nothing more coming out of our pockets.

    And the current issue of Highlights.

  4. Do you know how much is a lithotripsy?

  5. linlah says:

    One of life’s great mysteries is that the Amount you don’t owe column is always empty.

  6. planetross says:

    My best friend had a lithotripsy for kidney stones when he was about 30. That’s where I got all that good info on cranberry juice.
    It didn’t cost him anything above the $60 or %80 a month for medical coverage; he lives in Canada.
    I’m not sure what the monthly medical charge is up to in Canada now. I pay some corporation somewhere to pay something for me if something happens. I think they all have cool jeeps.

  7. planetross says:

    that should read “$80”.

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