A Hospital Bill, Annotated
I still have not gotten my hospital bill for giving birth, and I will be a little bit anxious about it until I do. What I have gotten, though, is the bill from the hospital’s pediatrician for a one Mr. O’CONNELL,BABYBOY, as he was known for the four days he spent without a name. Our pediatrician did not have ‘privileges’ in the hospital where I gave birth (or, as I think of it, birth was done to me) so, as my OB informed me, quickly, and during my very last appointment, that the practice next to them that always has a pediatrician around Labor & Delivery would come by and check out our person, and we’d bring him to our pediatrician a few days later. I just said “Cool,” and didn’t ask any questions, because I am breezy and an easy, cooperative patient!
Looking at this bill, though, I guess my first and only question, repeated again and again throughout my hospital stay, should have been “OKAY BUT DO YOU TAKE MY INSURANCE?” It wasn’t, as I am a damned fool, and now I am in the fear. The bill doesn’t say “we don’t take your insurance” per se, it just pretends insurance is not a thing that exists, like maybe they’re hoping I will forget and just cut them a check for the full amount.
INITIAL HOSPITAL OR BIRTHING: $257.00
This is not what they charged my existence for him to be born, just his. His “birthing” ended up being via c-section so maybe $257.00 is the cost of my five-foot-tall obstetrician climbing up onto the operating table (for real, she had a knee up there) and pushing down my abdomen and yanking him out of a tiny hole she cut into my now ironically-named “bikini line”?
But no, this is only the pediatrician. I don’t remember one being there for the birth but then again I was on another planet. Presumably one was in the nursery where they took him to do all the things that were not in our “birth plan” which quickly went out the window. Anyway, $257 kind of seems like a bargain for having the medical establishment look over his new-to-this-earth body and pronounce it one of us.
I’ll take it.
COUNSEL RISK FACTOR 15MIN: $76.00
I wish I knew what this was about. Since this is the baby’s bill and not mine, I assume the counseling was for him. “I know you are new here but life is, well, it’s pretty complicated.” Just 15 minutes of explaining to him that human beings are the only species that are aware they are going to die.
No, it is probably when a woman came into my hospital room and explained to me all the ways I could die by getting a c-section, and had me sign something say I won’t be mad if I do. That was fun. It wasn’t 15 minutes, either! It was three minutes, tops. This bill should be $15.20.
SUBSEQUENT HOSP CARE, PER DAY: $121.00
I love the $1. $120 was not enough! Also note that $121/day for 24 hours of care costs less than the cheapest babysitter. Granted I was taking care of him most of the time — and by “taking care” I mean crying quietly to myself in a hospital bed while he screamed/ate/screamed/ate/slept.
But again, this is from the pediatrician’s practice, not the nursing staff. So what they mean is the two minute visit a baby doctor did to check on him. Does he have balls? Check. Do his hips work? Yes. Spine straight? Yes. “He’s boring!” one of the doctors said to me.
“Thank you, sir, here is $121.00.”
[It’s fine! That seems like a fair price! What is fair anyway?]
HOSPITAL DISCHARGE DAY: $173.00
I’m guessing they checked him out super-hard this time, so it was an extra $52? They probably ran some tests. Did some screenings. Counted some baby balls. Which can we talk about this? One pediatrician said, “And the jewels are there, which must make Dad happy.” Dad? Are you happy your sons balls exist? “As a man with balls, I am very happy my son has them, too.” The last pediatrician we saw opened his diaper and was like “One, two, and three,” and I looked where she was tapping really quickly to make sure she wasn’t saying he had three balls but no, his penis was #3. Or #1. Let’s say it was #1.
TOTAL COST OF BEING BORN: $627.00
AND BY THAT I MEAN TOTAL COST OF BEING CHECKED OUT BY A PEDIATRICIAN ~3X: $627.00
I would call this pediatrician’s office but I have a fair amount of dread over this and very limited time for making important phone calls. Plus it is not 1 Thing Thursday so what do you want from me, world?
Photo via Wikimedia Commons