Americans Reveal The Most Expensive Medical Bill They've Ever Received
The rest of the first world provides universal healthcare for their citizens and regulates how much can be charged for procedures and medications. The United States does not which leaves neighbors and allies curious about how much people in the USA are billed for the privilege of staying alive and healthy.
Reddit user small-great-thing asked "Americans, what's the most expensive medical bill you've ever received, and what was it for?"
Here are just some of the answers.
In the two years I've had to pay my own bills, I had one for $276.13 when I came into urgent care because my finger was suddenly swollen and green after I had cut it on a microwave plate a week earlier. They looked at my finger for 2 seconds and told me it was fine. Didn't even touch it.
$250,000 plus $37,000 per month
My transplant started at about $250,000 and then I had another surgery about a month after that. But I have Medicare plus a supplement so I've been billed about $5000 so far for everything.
I have ongoing medication costs but with insurance it's like $50 a month. I think uninsured would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7k.
Also I was on dialysis for 4 years before that and the supplies for that purportedly cost about 25-30k per month although I didn't get charged for it. I got sick just as the AMA got rid of lifetime caps and made durable medical equipment free. Thanks, Obama.
No where near others here.. but I had 6k to remove a 2cm x 1cm mass in my breast only to find out it was a type of tumor that could grow back so I had to go back under a month later for margin removal. Guess what? Another 6k. During that month my boyfriend lost his job so it wasn't a great time for us. Stress all around, but thankfully I'm cancer free and he got a better job.
$10,000 after being treated for a minor stab wound. The doctor did nothing except give me a tetanus shot, a contrast abdominal MRI and a few bandages. I was there a grand total of 4 hours. I didn't have medical insurance at the time, but my company was able to get their general insurance to pay most of it.
As a side note I have to pay $300 a month for a medication I would die without. I don't know what I would do if something happened.
$30,000 a year
My insurance gets billed roughly 20-30k/year just for my type 1 diabetes management.
56k, abdominal surgery (took my appendix and 5 inches of colon). Just laughed when they called to collect, theres no way I could physically afford that, months of back and forth...ended up paying nothing.
I got a bill for about $10,000 for having my son delivered at a hospital plus my expense for the mistake with my IV that cost me a great deal of blood loss. He was worth it, though.
I spent 13 hours in a hospital because of some sort of stomach bacteria. Got a bill for $26,000. I laughed. Never paid it. Called the hospital billing department and told them to f*** off. They never pursued me for the money.
Before we got married, my husband and I were in a long distance relationship for a year or so. He was driving to visit me at night, dozed off, hit the median and flipped his car a bunch of times. I got a call, raced out to the hospital to be with him. He broke his nose, needed a few stitches on his lip, and had a mild concussion (plus a few minor scrapes and bruises). He had a head scan to check his brain. They had an IV in to give him fluids only (no meds) but it was inserted incorrectly and caused his arm to swell up with the fluids (which they did nothing about - told us to apply heat and the swelling would go down in a couple days). He was at the ER 2-3 hours. The bill was $45,000. The ambulance was another $2,000 on top of that.
$26k for having my son in the hospital. Normal birth, no complications. I found out an hour after he was born my insurance didn't cover labor and delivery (despite covering prenatal care?!) so the hospital reduced it to $12k "cash pay".
$146,000. Five days in ICU with meningitis.
I think the final bill for labor and delivery plus two weeks in NICU for our twins was around $750,000.
$10,000, for kidney stones. The treatment: wait until you pee them out.
350k and change... wife in a car accident, life flighted, multiple trauma surgery and ICU for 3 weeks and rehab hospital room for 3 more weeks before she was released. Total between hospitals, life flight ambulance, PT and lab work: 1.2 million.
$48,000+ for a three week stay in a mental hospital. I got the bill reduced to $150 once they saw my paystubs that I only made $150 a week working part time in college...
My late husband was the recipient of a double lung transplant in 2012. The total bill for his surgery and inpatient recovery was $1.6 million dollars.
My wife had gamma knife radiation for breast cancer metastatic to the brain. It was $110,000.
The awesome thing? It was an itemized bill. A few thousand for an MRI, a few thousand for a CT, a few thousand for applying the frame to her head.
And $80,000 as "miscellaneous". Not even joking.
So, I was convinced for about 2 weeks I had a really bad flu. Except, my leg and my arm are really sore, weird, but I'm feeling really bad, so I don't pay it much attention.
At about the week and a half mark, I tell my husband I need to go to the hospital. He takes me, I get there and am immediately taken to the ICU. Turns out I had contracted MRSA somehow. It's was basically like a staph infection on steroids. (Scarey part is, nobody to this day can tell me how I got it. I'm not a drug user or anything like that. Doctor literally said I could have picked it up off a shopping cart, fun stuff.)
Anyway, I end up being in the hospital for around 4 months. Apparently if I hadn't gone in the day I had, I probably would have died within the next few days. The MRSA had mutated and was eating the muscles in my arm and leg, which is why they were so sore. Had fluid built up around my lungs and heart. They drained around 10 liters of fluid all together from those areas. There was a bunch of stuff, but most of it is a hazy nightmare anymore because of the amount of drugs they put me on, plus the induced 2 week coma.
Anyway, so I get out of the hospital. Get a call, letting me know that my bill was $650,000 and I was welcome to pay $1000 a month. I told them I would call them back. LUCKILY, and it really wasn't at the time, but luckily my husband had recently lost his job (this was during the housing market crash and he was a homebuilder) before I got sick. I spoke with the hospital again and explained that we had no income and basically Medicare picked up the more than half a million dollar bill.
Wow, this got way longer than I meant it to. Just won't ever forget the miniheart attack I had when the hospital called to let me know how much I owed.
About 2.5 million.
Car accident. Guy was on his cell phone and hit me head on. 1 million was for Emergency services, ambulance and life flight just to get me to the hospital. I was hospitalized for a week, sent to a nursing facility, threw a fit and was released with the promise of doing outpatient therapy.
Less than a month after the accident, I was still in a wheelchair, suffering from PTSD, and on Percocet whenever I wasn't going to therapy because it made me really drowsy. I got a call from the hospital demanding payment.
My car insurance was suppose to cover my medical bills, but was still filing paperwork and assessing the costs, so the hospital came after me. I started crying on the phone and my mom, who was right beside me at the time (I was 21 and still living at home) grabbed the phone and went full Mama Bear on them. They did not call the house again.