“We’re going to have you stay overnight,” might be fun if it’s an invitation from a friend, but it’s not something you want to hear in the hospital. My first thought was, “Whoo-wee! This is going to be expensive!”
On my second day as an inpatient, I quit being concerned about the enormous cost. I realized that I’d owe 100% of the charges until my annual deductible was met, and after that I’d owe 20% of the charges until my out-of-pocket maximum was reached. Add those amounts together, and that’s what I would owe regardless of how many extra tests were ordered or how many days I stayed.
It’s hard to check my EOBs and start seeing the numbers: ER $1082, radiologist $375, hospital $42,000, radiologist $29, GI consult $354, rheum consult $303, EGD $375, radiologist $237, GI E&M $80/day, PCP E&M $140/day, operating room $30,000… What a relief to realize that there’s a limit to how much I’ll owe!
My husband, it turns out, hadn’t reached that conclusion. He hasn’t been sleeping well. When he does manage to sleep, he grinds his teeth. Not only is he concerned about my health, but he’s also concerned about our coming medical bills. We have to pay those bills, and he’s been worried about how high they’ll be.
I, on the other hand, am not concerned about paying those bills. We have clear division of labor in our house, and paying bills isn’t my department. My department is insurance. My husband leaves those details in my capable hands and doesn’t keep track of the details of our policy. He doesn’t worry about, or even think about, our medical coverage. It’s never been an issue for him because it’s always been something I’ve taken care of.
This led to an interesting situation. I’m not worried about what we’re going to owe because it’s going to max out our out-of-pocket expenses for the year and there’s not a thing I can do about it. My husband, however, has been losing sleep because I didn’t think to cue him in on the pertinent details of our insurance policy. He’s been picturing all those charges and thinking that 20% of an enormous number is still an enormous number.
Thankfully we discussed the subject, and he’s sleeping much better. I am soooooo thankful for insurance when those catastrophes hit.