Letter: Sticker shock at the hospital | VailDaily.com

Letter: Sticker shock at the hospital

In your article of a couple days ago, you set up a scenario of a “60 year old making $50,000, living in Glenwood Springs making $50,000 a year and buying his own insurance” as being a fall guy in the whole healthcare/insurance system. I just ran afoul of this system being 63 years old, making half of what he makes in a year and living in Avon (more expensive than Glenwood). Unfortunately I did not have insurance. With a $5,000 deductible and hundreds paid out a month and it being to late to buy it on the Affordable Care Act I decided to take my chances. After all, I was only going to do green runs skiing.  

Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

A shattered ankle brought me into the local health care system for one short day which required immediate surgery. The cost of less than 24 hours without any frills — I got a ride to the hospital and back eliminating the strangling cost of an ambulance, refused any painkillers, didn’t eat, was in a shared room and asked for nothing in my 20 hours of stay other than the use of a wheelchair — was $43,000. That’s not including the surgeon’s or the anesthesiologist’s bills. This is way more than I have ever made in a year. 

All for less than a day in the hospital.

If they are not making a profit at $43,000 a day on one person, then something is wrong with the bookkeeping. Another individual who told me he went in for one day with a broken foot paid $40,000. 

Seems to be a standard price. Seems to be astoundingly high. 

I can be thankful that I wasn’t a cripple. I can also be thankful I didn’t end up homeless. I would be more thankful if hospital care was somewhat more affordable.

Roger Freed


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