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Medical costs

A few weeks back our 2 year old son had to go the emergency room for what turned out to be a relatively minor problem with his platelet count.  One CAT scan, two nights in the hospital and two infusions later we left Children's Memorial counting our blessings...and our money.

I was struck by a sign half-hazardly taped to a wall in the hospital's billing department.  It said something to the effect of 'an average day of care at Children's costs $10,000."  Sure enough, the bill arrived this week.  Total charges: $18,120.14.

Thankfully, insurance covered all but $1,000 of that bill.  As I sit here writing the check to Children's my thoughts turn to all the kids and their families we met during our brief stay, some of whom are likely still hospitalized, a few of whom I fear took a turn for the worse. 

Amidst all of the debate in Washington about health care costs, there is one question few could answer easily: What is a fair price tag on a child's health?  $18,120.14? $10,000?  $1,000? 

We are fortunate on two fronts: 1) Our son's health condition does not appear to be serious and 2) With a little "creative accounting" in our monthly budget I can write the check for $1,000.  If I didn't have insurance, we would have been ruined.  If I didn't have the funds, we would be begging the hospital for understanding and a creative payment plan.  None are enviable positions yet they are the ones far too many people eencounter.


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