Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 29 - $$The Cost of Jaw Surgery$$

An itemized bill came in the mail today covering my surgery and hospital stay. Literally everything that happened in the hospital down to each individual shot of vicodin and each individual screw in my face.  All of these fills up about 4 pages and while I'm not going to copy the whole thing down for you, because that would be ridiculous, I will highlight some of the bill for you.

1 Jaw Surgery - $13,589

4 Plates - $1,020

22 Screws - $2,294.50

Miscellaneous Surgical Supplies - $2,567.50

Anesthesia Supplies - $517

3 Nights in Private Room  - $4,590

The below are some drugs i was given, I'm not going to count how many shots of what i was given, so i've just listed how much 1 unit of something cost.

1mg Morphine - $71.50 

8mg Dexamethasone (steroid to minimize inflammation) - $127

1 gm Cefazolin (antibiotic) - $63.60

15 mg Ketoralic (anti-inflammatory, like motrin) - $127.20

15 ml Vicodin - $44.60


Okay...so obviously i was given several other drugs, and there are various other charges on the bill...like i said, the list fills up 4 pages.  But i think its interesting how much things actually cost. Imagine if every time a nurse came into your room and said "Okay, here's your pain killer, that'll be $71.50 please".  Maybe you'd think twice about that shot of morphine?  Depends on how much pain you're in I guess... =P But no, the nurses just come in every 4 or 6 hours and pump your IV with all sorts of stuff and you just see it on the bill later.  And did you see the screws? They averaged at $104 per screw!  I think Home Depot may have better prices.....  Interested in what the total charge for everything is?

$30, 646.75 (see edit below...totally was actually about double this number)

read that again.  thirty thousand six hundred forty-six dollars and seventy-five cents.  Thats what jaw surgery costs (at the Mayo Clinic anyway). 10 years ago when the orthodontist told us I would need the surgery, not a penny of it was covered by any insurance plan because they considered it cosmetic.  Things have thankfully changed now with insurance companies because the surgery is definitely NOT cosmetic, but has an actual medical purpose. i mean...i looked pretty good before the surgery right? I would not have gone through all this unless i really, really had to.  So, thanks to our wonderful insurance company, out of that $30,646.75, we only had to pay $180 for the $60/night upgrade to a private room instead of sharing with someone else.  I'd say we got out pretty easy.

Edit:  We got another bill a few weeks later for another 20 or 30k... i gotta pull out the bill to give you an exact number but yeah, pretty much double the amount i previously gave. 


27 comments:

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I sent you an email, but don't know if you got it, saying you won the Jaw Surgery Blog Forums contest:

    http://www.jawsurgeryblog.com/corrective-jaw-surgery-before-and-after-pics-contest-winner/

    Feel free to post it here on your blog too, and congrats!

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    1. wow, happy i live in Canada im going for jaw surgery this week & i only had to pay $800.00 for everything!

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    2. My insurance company paid for pretty much everything, not me though. :) I've heard a lot of crazy horror stories from people in Canada not getting to pick their surgeon and having to wait 2 years to have the surgery done because of the limited availability of tax funds. Hopefully you didn't run into too much trouble. good luck with your surgery!

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    3. lol. Typical American-Conservative propaganda.

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    4. Truly propaganda. I have dual citizenship and lived in both countries. Believe when I say, it is BS. The amazing part is that people here in the US believe it. They saw it on TV (propaganda from big insurance companies) and they run with it. Not true. AT ALL!

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  2. Hey Rebecca I'm glad everything went ok with the surgery and I am looking at getting double jaw surgery but I'm not going to lie I'm really scared how bad it it hurt and for how long also any advice you might give me

    Thanks, Dillon

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    Replies
    1. It is kind of scary, but honestly the actual pain is pretty minimal. Its super uncomfortable and hard not being able to talk & chew normally... but you really won't be in much pain....especially with your meds. :)

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  3. This surgery was a jaw augmentation? cosmetic one or any medical issue?

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    1. While the surgery had cosmetic benefits, it was done for medical reasons (please see my "about" page) Insurance doesn't cover cosmetic surgery of course... But because my top and bottom jaw didn't line up properly it was causing long term problems that needed to be repaired now - and that something that insurance can cover.

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  4. Do you mind if I ask what insurance company you used? I went for a surgical consultation when I was 16 (I am now 25) and my parent's insurance wouldn't cover the procedure because it was "cosmetic". I need practically the exact same surgery. I have a severe underbite/open bite and under-developed upper jaw. Essentially,they need to bring the top out and bring the under in. I am in pain on a daily basis and don't know where to really begin as far as insurance goes. I work for an orthodontist practice so the orthodontic aspect of the process is covered. I would appreciate any additional info or advice. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I had Bluecross/Blue Shield at the time. The surgeon and orthodontist worked with them and made it clear they understood it was not a cosmetic procedure. Now i have McClaren insurance and my understanding is they cover 50% of it, which isnt as good as Blue Cross...but better than nothing! Hopefully you can figure that out!

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    2. Hi Rebecca,

      Do I start with the orthodonist or my medical doctor?

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    3. I would start with your orthodontist. For me - my dentist noticed some issues forming when i was in elementary school and referred me to my orthodontist. My orthodontist then laid out what procedures they recommended i go through for the next 10 years to prepare for the surgery. (because i was only 8 yrs old they had to wait till i was done growing for surgery) Either way, start with your ortho and they can recommend treatment and refer you to a surgeon.

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  5. Hi Rebecca,

    If you don't mind me asking what was the 2nd bill for? the other 30.000 Dollars?

    Cheers,

    Meri

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    Replies
    1. We got the hospital bill for the hardware, meds, stay in hospital, etc.
      The doctor doesnt know what to bill, so all he billed was surgery and observation afterwards. the insurance company paid 20% and we owe the rest! Do you have any other items you were billed for by the doctor? My doctors office manager said if i found anything to let her know. I cant believe i have to research this. my son had alot of xrays at the doctors office, im assuming they can file that. also, the had frequent consultations with a company that did a digital image that the doctor worked with during the surgery. they had to pay that company, probably alot and didnt bill the insurance co. can you think of anything else at all? I hope you can help me. If there is anyone out there that had this surgery and can tell me any additional items im missing that the doctor billed (not the hospital) I would be forever grateful!

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  6. I just had jaw surgery 16 days ago. I can personally say that I was totally unprepared. I thought 1-2 weeks would go by and I'd be back to my old self but that proved to be otherwise. Nevertheless, I'm really happy I did do it. My insurance is covering 80% and the rest is out of pocket. Hopefully, that doesnt leave too much for me to pay. CHICAGO.

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    1. No, the first 2 weeks are the worst but the process is definitely MUCH longer. Glad you feel good about having it done though! There were days when i felt so crappy i regretted it and didnt feel prepared, but in the long run i'm glad i had the surgery too.

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  7. I'm in Australia and I have full private health insurance which costs approximately $4000 per year. I'm about to have the final surgery. This has all been done for medical reasons and not cosmetic reasons but despite this, Medicare in Australia covers a very tiny fraction of the cost (a pathetic amount). All up it has cost me out of pocket $6000 in braces (after private health paid some) $3000 for the first surgery and now at least $10,000 for the final surgery. After this I will cancel my private insurance and only rely on public hospitals where I may have had the surgery for free.

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  8. Yeah... public healthcare is great as long as you never need it. :P Good luck with your surgery!!!! :)

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  9. I have to have upper and lower jaw surgery and my braces are going on June 12th and they they will prepare me for surgery. I am 44 years old, any suggestions?

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  10. Hello, I am also planning to have a jaw surgery but have not decided yet where. May I know which Mayo Clinic did you have yours done? I'm from Texas so I was wondering if you did yours in Arizona because it's closer to where I live.

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    1. I had mine done at the main Rochester location. My understanding is that the Arizona and Florida clinics focus on geriatrics, but you can always call and see if they do oral surgery! I definitely recommend my surgeon - Dr. Rieck - though. He did a GREAT job. I live out of state as well, so it was a little bit challenging traveling for my consultation, the actual surgery, then the follow up afterword... But if you can afford to travel, I think its worth it.

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  11. Did you have to have your jaw wired shut after the surgery? If so how long? I have an under bite and soon start prepping for surgery. I've heard its really painful too?

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    1. My jaw was not wired shut, i had rubberbands though that attached to my braces and linked my bottom and top jaw. They act as a cast to keep everything in place. You wont really have any mobility with your jaw anyway so you dont notice the rubberbands (or wires) anyway. They gradually moved to looser rubberbands as my jaw was strong enough to move on its own.. that might not be the same for everyone but you can still open a little bit to talk or eat. The surgery is not super painful, but it is very uncomfortable. The worst part is how swollen you will be, but most of your face will be numb so you wont feel a lot of pain.

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  12. Hi Rebecca,
    I hope everything goes well with you now. I have to have a surgery to bring forward my overbite jaw. I have spent the last couple of hours reading through your and others posts to get some information.
    I am almost 40 years and my teeth gone due this problem already. what you suggest me? I am in Canada and have an insurance plan too but I don't know it covers the surgery or not.

    Thanks

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  13. I just wanted to firstly say thank you for posting this it helps so much but I was wondering what insurance you have. I am a 20 yr old living on my own and I have to have this surgery in a year and afraid of all the cost.

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  14. My husband had a 6 hour emergency surgery in India. His surgeon was ex-Mayo clinic, the team, consisting of 3 trauma surgeons put his entire face back together after he was hit by a motorcyclists helmet while crossing the road. 2 weeks in ICU, 2 weeks in an AC suite....he is still recovering, we paid, in all about 4000.00 dollars for the whole thing. A lot in rupees, but.......... our insurance just reimbursed us, and happily!

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