Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Don't think this will be covered by your standard $15 co-pay

A little girl suffers a burst appendix on board a cruise ship and gets medical attention from the U.S. Navy.

The USS Ronald Reagan answered the disress call and steamed overnight almost 400 miles to get a helicopter within range to pick up the girl. Even then, the chopper had a 90-minute round trip plus time on-station to lift her off the ship.

Somehow, the standard $15 co-pay just doesn't seem to cover it, does it? Just looking at one of my recent insurance bills, I'm thinking hers would look a little like this:

1. Divert the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier (5,000+ crew members) and send it 325 miles to meet the ship. Billed by U.S. Navy: $1.5 million; paid by insurance: $2,500. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

2. Launch a helicopter with medical crew to airlift the girl from the ship (no landing pad). Billed by U.S. Navy: $15,000; paid by insurance: $975. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

3. Fly back to the Reagan and perform surgery. Billed by U.S. Navy: $31,500; paid by insurance: $9,750. Remainder written off and unbillable to patient.

Of course, this doesn't take hospitalization and prescriptions into account. Makes you glad you have coverage, doesn't it?

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