Recently DC did what almost all DCs do at some point in their lives and stuffed a bead up hir nose. Right before bedtime. On my birthday.
Because it was a bead with a nice big hole in it, it wouldn’t sneeze out.
DH tried to tweezer it out but that just caused bleeding and an upset DC.
Google told us that things stuck up noses can be aspirated to the lungs and that can cause infections and abscesses and so on. Google recommended the emergency room if home remedies didn’t work. They didn’t.
So we paid the copay and a doctor and a couple nurses tried all the home remedies we tried to no avail. Eventually they had to knock DC out so ze would stop squiggling and they could get the bead out. Which they did. DC will never ever do that again. Only kleenex up noses from now on.
Weeks pass. I dreaded seeing the bill (though not horrible amounts as we do have a tony emergency fund these days). I figured it would be big, especially with the general anesthesia.
I did not figure quite on HOW BIG, however. DH had had an emergency room trip for something much more scary a few years back and that only cost us something like $800 and there was lots of monitoring and stuff involved.
Cost? $3000. BC/BS bargained them to about half that. Cost to us: $1400.
But no indication of what that $3000 was for. DH called up. (And called up again a couple days later, and again until finally they called back.) They told him that they could not tell him what the charges were for unless he showed up in person with proof that DC was his DC. So he did, because we have general principal of not paying bills unless we know what they’re for.
$1400 just for going into a room at the emergency room. That is the lowest amount they charge for just going into a room, a level 1 charge. They also have a level 2 and level 3 charge!
$90 for the anesthesia (this I thought would be a lot more pricey)
$300 for a “minor ER procedure” (we think this was them poking around before anesthesia, tickling and attempting suction)
$870 for a “major ER procedure” (more people standing around while the doctor used suction, possibly also the post-anesthesia observation)
$280 for what we believe is the IV.
What was really interesting was the other info the lady gave us. Her boss has been getting a lot more complaints about costs since these cost rules were put in place ($1400 just for entering a room!) and she can’t cut the cost of any one item, so no discounts there, but she has been settling debt for smaller amounts. But, you have to make an appointment with her. And she wasn’t there. More hurdles.
After much agonizing about whether or not to try to set up an appointment with the “boss,” we decided to just pay the bill. At least we’ll be getting 1% back from the credit card. And hey, we’re halfway towards paying our family deductible… if there’s an emergency this summer we’ll at most have to pay $1500 for it.
DH recommends that you ask the doctor if it’s ok to wait for the next day to go to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. On the other hand, we were very happy to have the sense that all was right with the world at the end of the ER visit, and waiting another day would have been frustrating and probably not worth it for our sanity, even if it would have saved us several hundred dollars.