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Thank goodness for insurance !

sun starved Gayle

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My husband had a mishap in camp while on a kayak/rafting trip on the main Salmon River in Idaho. He slipped off a mud covered boulder and hit his head, knocking himself out. It turns out he had a severe concussion, and his face looked like it had been in a blender. He had to be airlifted out by helicopter to a trauma center in Lewiston, Idaho. That was not the best call to receive at 10:45 at night.

After a three day hospital stay, he is home now and doing well. I called our insurance to find out what we were on the hook for the helicopter, and was told our portion was $50.00. We were guessing what the total helicopter bill would be, and thought maybe $15,000. You can imagine our surprise when the bill came yesterday and it was $41,160.00 !

Thank goodness for insurance.
 

Passepartout

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That's great! I pay $50 a year to be a 'member of our hospital's 'Air' program so that those flights would be covered. You just never know when a medical emergency will strike. We always considered ourselves in better than average health, and even considered not buying a supplement to cover what Medicare doesn't. But that was before my DW was diagnosed with a chronic leukemia, and as of right now, her meds are $20,420 a month (actually 28 days) and she'll be on them the rest of her life. Insurance covers all but about $500/mo.

Jim
 
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am1

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If everyone paid cash what would the cost of the helicopter be?

Hopefully someone without insurance or cash would not be left there or forced to canoe/walk out.
 

taterhed

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wow, ouch.

Hope he's ok.
Modern medicine may be expensive. But it's worth it in those cases.
Yikes.
 

sun starved Gayle

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If everyone paid cash what would the cost of the helicopter be?

Hopefully someone without insurance or cash would not be left there or forced to canoe/walk out.
They came without asking about insurance. The bill does say "if you do not have insurance the entire amount is due upon receipt". Yes, wait just a minute while I get my wallet.........
 

Passepartout

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If everyone paid cash what would the cost of the helicopter be?

Hopefully someone without insurance or cash would not be left there or forced to canoe/walk out.
You won't be walking or canoeing out of the Salmon River wilderness in central Idaho. It's fly or die.
 

1Kflyerguy

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I have seen a few news stories about helicopter flights bankrupting people.. Based on that bill i can see why.. Its a great service when needed, but obviously very expensive.
 

Elan

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Makes one wonder how the $41K is itemized/rationalized.
 

DaveNW

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Glad your husband is okay. Keep paying those insurance premiums. :)

Dave
 

rickandcindy23

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What a relief for you that he is okay and the incident not going to break the bank.

Taking hikes is so risky, and as I age, I am more worried about every step. During our Maui trip last year, we took some friends, and she fell on a hike off of the Hana Road drive we took. She fell and conked her head so hard, I could hear it, and she stood up and was embarrassed. Rick watched her the rest of the day for signs of concussion. We are all in our late 50's and early 60's. We shouldn't be walking on wet rocks. Just sayin'. I don't see me doing that hike again. And by the way, she just had rotator cuff on surgery on 7/5 from her many falls, and a lot of them were vacation and camping trips.
 

WinniWoman

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What a relief for you that he is okay and the incident not going to break the bank.

Taking hikes is so risky, and as I age, I am more worried about every step. During our Maui trip last year, we took some friends, and she fell on a hike off of the Hana Road drive we took. She fell and conked her head so hard, I could hear it, and she stood up and was embarrassed. Rick watched her the rest of the day for signs of concussion. We are all in our late 50's and early 60's. We shouldn't be walking on wet rocks. Just sayin'. I don't see me doing that hike again. And by the way, she just had rotator cuff on surgery on 7/5 from her many falls, and a lot of them were vacation and camping trips.

Agree. Though I have seen people in their 80's hiking up 6000 foot mountains. Crazy. My husband and I stick to mostly flat walks or very easy mini hikes.
 

WinniWoman

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If everyone paid cash what would the cost of the helicopter be?

Hopefully someone without insurance or cash would not be left there or forced to canoe/walk out.
The reason so many things today are so expensive is because we have insurances in the first place. If no one had insurance- prices would have to come down. But then again- many services would probably disappear. I don't know what the answer is.
 
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Patri

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Insurance won't pay that much either. They will negotiate it down. When DH was airlifted three years ago, the bill was similar. After the fact, I got a paper from the flight company telling me to sign that I would pay whatever insurance didn't. Of course, I never signed. It took months and I got a few notices, but insurance told me not to worry about it. It just took that long to reach a fair reimbursement. I paid nothing beyond what I may have owed for a deductible or co-pay. Most likely I was maxed out by then. I also know a girl without insurance who was airlifted. She thought she would be paying for the ride the rest of her life. It was paid for by a benevolence-type fund or agreement through the hospital.
 

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What kind of insurance covered this given this was in the U.S.? Health insurance? or did you purchase extra travel insurance?
 

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What a relief for you that he is okay and the incident not going to break the bank.

Taking hikes is so risky, and as I age, I am more worried about every step. During our Maui trip last year, we took some friends, and she fell on a hike off of the Hana Road drive we took. She fell and conked her head so hard, I could hear it, and she stood up and was embarrassed. Rick watched her the rest of the day for signs of concussion. We are all in our late 50's and early 60's. We shouldn't be walking on wet rocks. Just sayin'. I don't see me doing that hike again. And by the way, she just had rotator cuff on surgery on 7/5 from her many falls, and a lot of them were vacation and camping trips.
From 1999-2002 we lived in a community with a private beach. We'd go down on Sunday mornings to look at the tide pools. One morning Cliff ended up on his back looking at the sky, and at the same time I managed to do the splits between two wet rocks. Each of us was wondering why the other hadn't come to help them out of their predicament. From then on we stayed off the darn rocks and kept to the sand and/or dry rocks!
 

dioxide45

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Makes one wonder how the $41K is itemized/rationalized.
I suspect that the insurance company has some negotiated rate that they have worked out and pay only a small portion of the $41K. Kinda like those big doctor bills of $500 and insurance pays only $125. They never expected to get $500, or $41K in the case of the helicopter.
 

Passepartout

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I suspect that the insurance company has some negotiated rate that they have worked out and pay only a small portion of the $41K. Kinda like those big doctor bills of $500 and insurance pays only $125. They never expected to get $500, or $41K in the case of the helicopter.
One of the most compelling reasons to buy health insurance is to benefit from their ability to negotiate rates. If you don't have insurance and are 'private pay', you can ASK for the same price insurance carriers pay, but the provider is under no obligation to give it to you. That's one of the BIG beefs with Medicare- Believe it or not, Medicare is NOT ALLOWED to negotiate lower prices from drug companies! Insurance carriers can negotiate, Other nations can negotiate, but not Medicare! It's one of the reasons Americans pay more for health care (by far) than ANY other country, yet 125 other countries people live longer.

Jim
 

Steve Fatula

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One of the most compelling reasons to buy health insurance is to benefit from their ability to negotiate rates. If you don't have insurance and are 'private pay', you can ASK for the same price insurance carriers pay, but the provider is under no obligation to give it to you. That's one of the BIG beefs with Medicare- Believe it or not, Medicare is NOT ALLOWED to negotiate lower prices from drug companies! Insurance carriers can negotiate, Other nations can negotiate, but not Medicare! It's one of the reasons Americans pay more for health care (by far) than ANY other country, yet 125 other countries people live longer.

Jim
I had no insurance for 2 years a few years back. In every case, where I lived, the cost to me (cash rate) was less than the negotiated BCBS rate they paid when I was covered. I am sure this can widely differ, but that was my experience.
 

Passepartout

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I had no insurance for 2 years a few years back. In every case, where I lived, the cost to me (cash rate) was less than the negotiated BCBS rate they paid when I was covered. I am sure this can widely differ, but that was my experience.
You were fortunate. It isn't always like that. But then, many people just don't ask for a discount. They get a bill and simply pay it.
 

am1

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Makes one wonder how the $41K is itemized/rationalized.
I am sure a lot of the cost is standby cost. How they charge for that I am not sure.
 

Steve Fatula

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You were fortunate. It isn't always like that. But then, many people just don't ask for a discount. They get a bill and simply pay it.
Probably both are true, but I always ask. Just because someone sends me a bill does not mean I owe it! The hospital I was in earlier this year tried to bill me for the difference between insurance discount, and, their ridiculous full charge, over $70k. Did I pay it? Of course not. I let insurance hassle them and they eventually reversed it.

I get charged < $50 for a doctor visit, with labs....
 

Panina

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My husband had a mishap in camp while on a kayak/rafting trip on the main Salmon River in Idaho. He slipped off a mud covered boulder and hit his head, knocking himself out. It turns out he had a severe concussion, and his face looked like it had been in a blender. He had to be airlifted out by helicopter to a trauma center in Lewiston, Idaho. That was not the best call to receive at 10:45 at night.

After a three day hospital stay, he is home now and doing well. I called our insurance to find out what we were on the hook for the helicopter, and was told our portion was $50.00. We were guessing what the total helicopter bill would be, and thought maybe $15,000. You can imagine our surprise when the bill came yesterday and it was $41,160.00 !

Thank goodness for insurance.
How horrible what happened. I am glad your husband is doing well.
 

Panina

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What a relief for you that he is okay and the incident not going to break the bank.

Taking hikes is so risky, and as I age, I am more worried about every step. During our Maui trip last year, we took some friends, and she fell on a hike off of the Hana Road drive we took. She fell and conked her head so hard, I could hear it, and she stood up and was embarrassed. Rick watched her the rest of the day for signs of concussion. We are all in our late 50's and early 60's. We shouldn't be walking on wet rocks. Just sayin'. I don't see me doing that hike again. And by the way, she just had rotator cuff on surgery on 7/5 from her many falls, and a lot of them were vacation and camping trips.
I hike. I fell and hit my head hard walking out of a ladies room. It made me realize life can change in a moment and with any step tradegy can happen. I was lucky, I am still kicking.
 

Steve Fatula

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I hike. I fell and hit my head hard walking out of a ladies room. It made me realize life can change in a moment and with any step tradegy can happen. I was lucky, I am still kicking.
This is very true indeed. You don't have to be doing dangerous things.
 
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