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The Astounding Cost of Medical Treatment: $27,000

Since the winter of 2006 I’ve kept precise records of all medical expenses. Every time I come home from the primary doctor, massage therapist, acupuncturist or specialist I create a digital copy of the bill, (using my scanner), and record the date, cost and a brief description of the service performed.

Last night I tallied the costs and found an astounding total. I spent nearly $27,000 on prescriptions and medical procedures from February 2006 through December 2009. Although I knew the overall tally would be high, I was certainly not prepared to see $27,000 flashing before me.

Some years cost more than others and 2006 and 2008 cost the most by far. My surgery was performed in late 2005, so the primary charges in 2006 revolved around physical therapy and pain management. In 2008 an experimental procedure was performed that cost $7,000. Following that procedure I underwent additional rounds of physical therapy and pain management.

This year I spent over $4500 on medical expenses. While $4500 is by no means a good number, I am happy to report that it is the smallest amount I’ve paid since my medical problems began nearly five years ago.

In the big scheme of things my medical issues are minor. I can’t imagine what people pay for larger problems. If you told me five years ago that I would still be paying $4500 in medical expenses each year I wouldn’t have believed you.

$27,000 is a ridiculous amount of money! I can only hope that a combination of time, proper medical treatment and prayer will help decrease my costs each year. In the mean time I’m thankful for a good job with solid medical insurance.

One Frugal Girl

Saturday 9th of January 2010

@Abigail - I'm sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope you have fully recovered since then. It's amazing how quickly the medical bills can add up. It's even more amazing that you hit the $1 million cap so quickly!

@Jesse Irene - The scanner is the best thing my husband ever bought. We scan all of our mail and important documents with it too!

@Mrs Money - You and me both! Here's to hoping for a happy, healthy 2010 for everyone!

@Megan - I can't even imagine what NICU costs run. I bet 5 days cost a fortune!

Megan

Friday 8th of January 2010

This was a fascinating post. It's amazing how fast it adds up, too. I shudder to think of how much we spent after Maureen was born - five days of her in NICU was a LOT of money.

Abigail - wow, I didn't know that about the $1 million maximum. That sounds like a lot, but I can see where one can deplete it quickly due to a much-needed operation, therapy, cancer treatment, etc.

Mrs. Money

Thursday 7th of January 2010

You had to PAY all that?? Wow. I hope this new year is better for you!

Jessa Irene (Holiday-Haven)

Tuesday 5th of January 2010

We pay tons in medical too. Plus dental. We have no insurance for the dental and one kiddo is in braces. At one point this year we had 9 different medical bills we were paying on. Too crazy. It was nice to read this post and know we are not alone! And scanning them in to log them is a GREAT idea I will have to try that too!

Abigail

Tuesday 5th of January 2010

Twelve years ago, I go very, very ill. As in: 3 weeks in the ICU, 2 months in a long-term care facility (on life support for both of those) and 2 weeks in physical therapy rehabilitation.

At the long-term care facility, I had 2 or 3 doctors, depending on the time of day, day of the week, etc. I also had physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, the room and the meds.

Later, my parents were reviewing the insurance statements. We were lucky that they had incredible coverage and I was a 19 year old college student still covered by then. And we found out:

ONE of those doctors at the long-term care facility (not the ICU or rehab) had submitted a $70,000 bill.

I had spent my whole life on my dad's insurance, but had never been very sick. It was mainly the basic doctor visits. After I got out of the hospital and finished 2 months' of physical therapy, I had to switch to my mom's coverage. I had used up the lifetime maximum. Most policies have a $1,000,000 maximum.

Food for thought when people decide they can afford to go without insurance.