Gall Bladder Surgery cost $30,000

The Golden Gall Bladder

Richard Charpentier Notes from Rich 4 Comments

Gall Bladder Surgery cost $30,000

Keeping happy sunrises in mind as I weed through the back breaking medical bills from last year….

I know I’ve been super quiet on the blog over the last few months.  Actually over a year now.  Between looking for clients and dealing with some unexpected financial issues, I just haven’t “felt it,” when it comes to blogging.

But this morning while I wait on a client to get in touch I thought I’d hit you with the story.  Last year after a routine GI set of tests I was presented with an issue.  My Gall Bladder had to go.  I’ve never had a real surgery before, so it was scary and I didn’t say a lot about it.  Basically I was stuck waiting 2 months for referrals, tests, more referrals, more tests, and so on.  The whole thing cost me a client as I couldn’t get to their location due to waiting on doctors.

Bottom line, the gall bladder came out in August of 2016.  And before you ask, yes I had insurance.

How a gall bladder removal can cost over $30,000

With each test and referral I presented my insurance card to the staff of each doctor’s office I visited.  Nobody raised an eyebrow, nobody warned me that my insurance wasn’t accepted.  We forged ahead.  And my insurance, Freedom Life, was found through the Government Marketplace search.  I hadn’t applied for Obama Care, I was on an insurance plan for small business owners.  That was my understanding.

So, at the start of 2017 I was incredibly surprised when I began receiving LARGE medical bills from the hospital where I had my surgery.  By February the bills had stacked up to just a little over $25,000.  The fact I didn’t have a heart attack after seeing the final total is a miracle.  And had I experienced a heart attack I would not have gone to the hospital for it.  Too damned expensive.

Behind the slew of bills to Yavapai Regional Medical I received more bills.  The anesthesiologist sent separate bills to the tune of over $4,000.00.  The hospital also billed me for several thousand dollars for the anesthesiologist as well.

Finally, last week I got another $4,000 bill for the surgeon who did the surgery.  I thought that was already wrapped into the $25,000 bill from the hospital.

In total, $25K plus $4K plus another $4K comes to over $33,000.00

My insurance covered $900 on one item.

Depressed, confused, and wanting to do the right thing

I have never failed to pay a bill in my life.  I’m one of those crazy people who pays what he owes.  In fact, 2015 and 2016 I paid my insurance company $7,200 per year.  So they got over $14,000 from me.  And in return, they haven’t done anything for my gall bladder surgery last year.  Fortunately at the start of 2017 I switched to Blue Cross.  They seem to be competent.

Sitting here waiting to talk to a client I find myself feeling pretty glum.  Trying to figure out payment plans with hospitals and doctors.  Wondering why the recovery room (where a nurse rushed me out before I was even really awake) cost over $1,200, and when I was driven home I was still actively bleeding (I messed up a favorite shirt).  Why did supplies cost $2,513.00 and another $1,150.00 in a separate bill?  $4,000.00 for the operating room….etc, etc, etc.

The worst part?  I’m still having medical issues and the gall bladder didn’t really help anything.  Still, with all of that said, I’m working on payments.

Doing the right thing

I’ve had so many people tell me to ignore the bills.  Personally I can’t do that.  They will get paid.  It will take time, but they will get paid.  What would be nice would be to get a refund from my old insurance company for the $14,000 I spent with them in 15 & 16′.  That would go a long way toward helping.

So, that’s where I’ve been.  Focusing on finding new clients, meeting my own obligations, and trying to stay positive.  It’s a tough one though.  In my case over $30,000 for a one day event.  And when I pitch to potential clients and they try to get me to negotiate my prices?  Are you kidding?  I spent $30K for a gall bladder removal that didn’t help my quality of life at all.  When clients spend with me they actually get something that does work.  One customer recently reported a 400% year over year increase thanks to the online presence we developed for them last year.  Ah, results!

Okay, enough with my minor pity party.  Back to work, I’ve got bills to pay.

Comments 4

  1. You certainly take your obligations seriously–and for that I commend you. However, my daughters father-in-law has much higher medical bills anf simply does not pay them. The American medical system is corrupt, so I have to say if I was in his position or yours I’d do what he does. I hate to hear that you’re feeling so down, you’re too good a person for that nonsense. I hope you can find joy in life and get through this stronger. That said Rich, you’ve been through way too much already

  2. My wife and I pay $18,000 a year for our health insurance and truly hope we never have to use it. Your story just confirms the best thing you can do is stay healthy and out of the healthcare system. Proactively eating good food and staying active is what is are trying to do.

  3. I am so sorry Rich for the disappointment in our system of insurance. I received a bill for $537. because they were suppose to take it out of my act. every month. Well if I do not pay it by the 28th they will cancel until January. Now I have to come up with the money somehow. Not anywhere near your $$$$$$ amount. Love you Rich. You will find a way.

  4. This is truly a sad tale…so sorry. My son is fighting a similar battle with hernia surgery. Ins. company says it wasn’t necessary. Really?
    Box Canyon Mark

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