Surgery Bill Wrap-Up!



Good morrow, reader! I don’t know why I chose to bring out my Shakespearean English on a random Thursday morning, but let’s ride the wave!

Let’s talk about surgery, or better yet, the bills brought about by the sinus surgery I had over the summer – July, in fact! When you have any type of surgery (this was the first time I’ve ever had one – at 28!), you can get billed for a lot of different things. Examples include: the doctor performing the surgery, the anesthesiologist, the pathologist, the facility fee, a recovery room service (what?!), etc. Obviously, this list can get quite extensive. I don’t even want to imagine what it might look like for birthing a child. YIKES!

Let me lead with this: I am very well insured – thanks to my full-time job. This surgery and all of the related costs met my yearly deductible and out-of-pocket costs. At this time, I’m no longer paying any co-pays or co-insurance.

Let’s break down this list of bills!

  • Pre-Op Radiology – a.k.a. ONE CT Scan (also of note, the CT Scan took 8 minutes. Total.)
    • $507.51 – That was AFTER insurance. After this charge was submitted to my insurance, I had met my 2015 deductible and this was my leftover balance.
    • TOTAL PAID: $0
      • Why? Great question! I called to set up a payment arrangement for this and discovered I was eligible for the hospital’s financial aid program. I received 100% financial assistance based on my income. I’m still shocked, but entirely grateful!
  • Surgical Pathology – tests on tissues removed from my sinuses.
    • $445.00 (Pre-Insurance) – At this point, thanks to the radiology listed above, my deductible had been met. However, my insurance knocked this bill down A LOT.
    • TOTAL PAID: $13.40
      • Thanks to an insurance payment, a contractual adjustment, and a previously met deductible my co-insurance left me with this small portion.
  • The Surgery Center – the bill with facilities, surgeon, etc. all rolled into one.
    • $1,199.70 (After insurance) – I’m going to break this one down even further just to show you the insanity of some of these numbers. Please note: I went in at 8am that day and left before Noon.
      • Pharmacy: $641.08, Supplies: $910.00, Pathology: $756.00, Surgery Service: $12,775.00, Anesthesia: $921.00, Recovery Room Service: $1489.00 — Grand Total: $17, 492.08, but after my insurance, that price dropped significantly to $1199.70
    • TOTAL PAID: $119.97
      • My extreme good fortune continues here as well! Again, I called to set up a payment plan and found out I qualified for 90% financial assistance – all based on income. Again, I’m so grateful for this discovery and assistance.
  • The Anesthesiologist – the bill for the guy who put me under.
    • $1,092.50 – Needless to say, I was very surprised to see this bill come through when I had already been charged for anesthesiology on my surgery center bill. Also, this bill came on November 5th, almost four months after my surgery. Talk about being behind in billing!
    • TOTAL PAID: $0
      • As it turns out, there was a billing error made in my favor here. Please note, I got this bill in NOVEMBER after a JULY surgery. With that, I was extremely curious why I hadn’t seen the charge come through on my insurance dashboard. They had ONE LETTER off on my insurance ID number that kept getting the charge denied and after so many failed insurance attempts, they sent me the bill for the balance due. I looked at the bill and tried to see if I could find it on my insurance’s claims dashboard – obviously, it wasn’t there. I looked at the insurance information listed on the bill and noticed the error. I called the next morning to re-submit the correct ID number and within a week, the balance was paid by my insurance. SO GLAD I CAUGHT THAT MISTAKE!

Unless anymore strange bills come up in the coming weeks, which I don’t think anymore will, my surgery will have cost me a grand total of $119.97. I’m so grateful that a surprise surgery didn’t ruin my budget and completely brought me back to my normal quality of life. I’ve had severe seasonal allergies my whole life and this surgery just opened my face (and life) back up. I can’t even explain it.

The big takeaways here:

  • Check your medical bills for errors! They really do happen! The one I caught saved me $1000+!
  • Ask about hospital financial aid policies! Both programs I qualified for were based on my income and I just had to fill out a form and send a copy of a paystub.
  • Keep track of medical expenses! Some can be tax-deductible at the end of the year.
  • Check your insurance claims dashboard online every now again. It’s a good idea to see how much your insurance is actually covering. It’s also smart to check your ‘Explanation of Benefits’ letters against any bills you get!

Be a good healthcare consumer – know your benefits and what options and/or programs are available to you!

(NOTE: You might be curious as to why I chose to write this post, but I feel like I should justify a little bit here. This post is not meant to come across as “Look at what I got for cheaper than you!” I wanted to share a post that was completely transparent with costs for a typical medical event in hopes to encourage others who might want to research payment options that might apply to their own situations. Thanks for your understanding.)

Photo via Folkert Gorter

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and

23 thoughts on “Surgery Bill Wrap-Up!

  1. I am a paralegal who spends a lot of time reviewing medical bills. The main thing to remember is that they are VERY negotiable and that medical math is about the most screwed up thing out there. Discounts to insurance companies can be over 50% of the total charges; I’ve seen them as high as 70-80% in some cases. Any time you owe money for a medical bill beyond a minimal co-pay, especially if your income is below average, asking for a discount is likely to succeed.

  2. Wow, I loved this post! It can be so scary to question some bills, especially doctor bills, but it was totally worth it in your case.

  3. We’re so lucky in the UK to have the NHS, it gets criticised a lot, but at least if you need medical help it’s there, free at the point of use.

  4. i have been thru this many times. very confusing and you have to watch everthing little thing. even if just in the hospital for a few days. had to call insurance company to make sure got bills. my mother when she passed away had over 100,000 bill and they said they had sent it to insurance, they never did, took over a yr. i ended up paying abt 79.00 for the entire bill, b/c of the mistakes and not filing with her insurance and billing her for things she did not have done, medicines she did not have, etc. you have to watch everything little thing. if you are elderly you need an advocate to help you go thru this for you. glad you came thru the surgery okay and got the bills straightened out. i am going to have to have abt 3 surguries in the coming yr and dread it b/c i live alone w/ 3 dogs and live in the country as well, my health insurance is supposed to provide in home care though. will see.

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