Getting over an underbite

blogging my way through double jaw surgery

Count the Cost

The reason I finally got the surgery at my age is that I finally found a way to get the cost of surgery covered. I mentioned I had tried once in college; the surgeon refused to even do an initial consult since I didn’t have insurance. I tried again when I worked at a big university in my 20s. I was participating in a research study on my teeth, and the surgeons were dying to fix my mouth. They could not convince my insurance at the time that was anything more than cosmetic.

ImageFast forward a number of years and I move out to try again. I get braces on again and our insurance covered $1250 of the cost (lifetime max). We paid the rest out of pocket. I paid for my workup out of pocket (forget the exact cost now). Which brings me to the surgery. I’m sharing my insurance statements for surgery to show what a crazy insurance/medical system we have going on. It rather amazes me.

So here it is:

What the doctors and hospital charged my insurance company:

  • Overnight Hospital Stay: $865
  • Anesthesiologist: $2,625
  • Hospital Charges: $43,780
  • Physician Charges: $14,985

What the insurance allowed as charges:

  • Overnight Hospital Stay: $254
  • Anesthesiologist: $1,913
  • Hospital Charges: $6,261
  • Physician Charges: $3,719

So here’s the summary. The hospital/doctors charged the insurance $62,255. The insurance allowed $12,147 as cost. Per my plan I only have to pay 10% which is $1,214. !! Back when we though the insurance would deny the surgery last year, I asked what the charge would be to us out of pocket. We were quoted ~$22,000.  I can’t even figure how they got that number. It only goes to show that if you have to pay a medical cost out of pocket, you should definitely try to bargain them down.

The entire surgery cost me less than the braces. !! I’m feeling super blessed it all worked out.
Happy smiley
Quick update on my status these days:

Change is not as frequent, so I won’t be posting as frequently now. I’m up to opening my mouth 25 mm. I’m happy about that but have to get it open another 5+ mm by Wednesday. I managed to eat at a potluck last night, mostly pasta and creamed corn, but glad there were things I could eat. Everything else is continuing as usual, with tiny improvements. I’ll post again next week after my next doctor visit and my first orthodontist visit post-surgery.

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2 thoughts on “Count the Cost

  1. Andrea on said:

    Isn’t the pricing system bizarre? My first inkling was when I tried to get some itemized costs before my first was born. They made it seem impossible to get that info, and after asking in several departments, and waiting what seemed an eternity, someone gave me a price breakdown – with the stipulation that the prices quoted were only valid six months (in other words, rather useless other than for a ballpark idea).
    What irked me the most was the impression they gave that I shouldn’t concern myself with the actual cost – that whatever I was charged was well worth it.

  2. It really is! I can’t quite begin to understand it. So much for just charging what it actually costs! Many of these hospitals are non-profit, supposedly.

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