Jaw Journal

One for the Money…

Today was the day I faced my fears.

Today I finally saw the statement for the hospital costs for my surgery.

Now, I got the bill from my surgeon’s office a few months ago, and didn’t share it with you all because I was waiting for the other, more frightening shoe to fall. I knew from the beginning that the hospital bill would be the Big One, because hospitals, as we all know, really like to bleed patients dry. (Dear friends and family who are nurses…I love you! I’d feel much better about hospitals being so expensive if I knew that  money was going more toward YOUR paychecks than things like lobby plants and big, shiny statues.)

So, we’ll do this chronologically.

The surgeon fees included things like the surgeon and his assistant, the surgical tools, and the dog-bone shaped pieces of titanium they drilled into my jawbone. It also included all of the pre- and post-op appointments, x-rays and photos.

Overall, the surgeon’s bill came to about $9,000. (Keep in mind my surgeon’s office very kindly honored the prices they’d quoted me at my first consultation in 2009. If I’d been charged the 2011 prices, it would have been in the neighborhood of $15,000.)

The anesthesiologist was a separate charge from the surgeon and the hospital. The cost of taking me to the brink of Eternal Sleep and monitoring my vital functions for two hours to make sure that I didn’t actually take an Eternal Sleep was approximately $4,000. Not a bad paycheck for two hours. (Granted, I didn’t die, so I really am grateful.)

Now, the Big One.

The hospital fees included the use of the operating room for just under 2 hours, the nursing staff, the use of 2 hospital rooms (prep and recovery), and things like the plastic bag they gave me to put my clothes in so they wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. Fees also covered the cost of paper for ALL of the paperwork I had to fill out, and the awesome hospital gown that could actually be heated or cooled to my preference. (Yes, I actually think that part is pretty awesome.) I was not in the hospital overnight. In fact, I was there for just over 8 hours. So, a normal work day.

The total cost for the hospital was almost $34,000.

Total cost for my surgery was roughly $47,000.

Are you cringing right now? Because I have been cringing for the last four months in anticipation of this bill. With every passing week, the knowledge that this bill was coming sent shivers down my spine. I knew that my hospital was In-Network, and that there was a maximum out-of-pocket expense on my plan, but I was still nervous.

Well, today I learned the amazing reality of my situation.

The hospital fee was paid for by insurance 100%.

Yup. You read that right. Every single penny of the $34,000 dollars was paid in full by my amazing insurance company. (Um, did I just use the word “amazing” and “insurance” in the same sentence? Why yes. Yes I did.)

The anesthesiologist’s bill was also paid for by insurance 100%. (I got a free trip to the edge of eternity! Cool!)

The surgeon’s bill was a different story, though. Sadly, it was not covered 100%.


There was a $40 co-pay.

THAT’S RIGHT, PEOPLE. I paid a whopping FORTY BUCKS for the surgery I’d been planning on filing bankruptcy for.

If that doesn’t make you shake your head in wonder, I don’t know what will.



  • Christine F

    Oh health insurance companies… I won’t even go there! I’m glad your insurance covered everything! That’s a huge blessing.

    • Lindsay

      It is such a blessing…We’d really been preparing for the worst for a long time. I’d even met with a lawyer at one point to discuss bankruptcy, medical disability and any sort of government program that could help pay. I’m SO glad I didn’t have to go any of those routes!

      Also, you’ve been in our prayers, too. Hope you’ve been feeling better lately…