My recent experience with American Healthcare

Friday, July 12, 2019
The raccoon bit me once. Just a little nip. I asked at the doctor’s office if I should be concerned. Doctor told me to go to the hospital and begin rabies treatment. Holy shit, I am never doing that again. One shot to the fingertip, three separate sticks, two more shots to the arm and thigh, and three more shots coming up. Shit.

I saw a man at the parking exit shaking so hard he couldn’t get the ticket into the machine to raise the gate. Parkinson’s, no doubt. So I got out of my car and asked if he needed help. Of course he did, so I inserted the ticket for him, and slid his credit card as well. How he was able to drive on his own must have been an act of will.

Friday, August 16, 2019
Someone explain to me how an ER visit to have a dog bite treated, which required stitches, only cost about $4,000, but a rabies vaccine costs over $13,000. What the fuck? Insurance has yet to process that one, but a bunch of other charges totaling about $3,500 already went through, so the total bill may well be close to $17,000.

Holy fucking shit. My wisdom teeth surgery was only 5K. My testicular surgery was only around 6K. This was a series of injections as a precaution against rabies. There is no way 6 shots cost 17K. I see no attempted claims for this amount on my insurance, so it must not have processed this yet. I called them just in case, and after a quick survey, I was told it is being processed now. Why the hell did I have to go through the ER? Why couldn’t my doctor have scheduled me to go to a clinic or something? I have a feeling my doctor used me as a cash grab for super-inflated markup. Hell, that’s probably the reason all outpatient ultrasounds and x-rays and tests are through the ER: so hospitals can charge more for them.

As with the healthcare system, the education system, and the prison system, for-profit is the root of most of America’s problems.

Friday, August 23, 2019
So the hospital billed my insurance $13,141. Plan discount is 12,203. The plan paid 575, and I owe 363. What kind of magic made that happen? Why would I have had to pay 8,000+ without insurance, but with insurance, I only have to pay around 900 altogether? It’s a confusing mess, and the system is so opaque you can never know how much something will cost.

October 25, 2019
Finally received a final bill. Somehow a 13,000+ hospital bill shrank to $363 with insurance. Somebody please explain to me how a series of injections cost $13k. It doesn’t. That’s profit motive. That’s why we need to get the profit motive out of medicine, among other things.

Friday, December 6, 2019
I just got two more bills for that rabies vaccine from last July, each about 90 bucks. Holy shit I thought it was over. How the hell am I still getting bills for a procedure that happened 5 months ago?

American healthcare is fucked up. There is no way of knowing how much anything costs or what you will owe. There is no appeal. There is no option to shop around for a hospital who will give you a better price. Americans are at the mercy of insurance companies who determine what is paid for and how much doctors and hospitals will make on any given treatment, and the process is opaque. America needs to take a good hard look at what it's spending, and where the money actually goes.


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