From BundleHQ: What was your most expensive hospital visit?
Good morning! Hope this note finds you well.
Yesterday this really fun thing happened at my house. Basically what happened is this: My boyfriend stabbed himself in the hand. He was opening a package with a knife (do not recommend!) and it slipped and went into his hand, cutting it and making it bleed all over the place. I cleaned it up with a towel, which I then threw away ($4). Then we sat and wondered if the cut was big enough to warrant a doctor. I said yes, because I am very pro going to the doctor when you stab yourself. Boyfriend said no, because he said the cut was only superficial (wrong), and he also doesn't have health insurance (also wrong). We discussed this while blood soaked through another towel ($4). Then he felt woozy, which I took advantage of by declaring victory and ushering him to the car.
Did we go to the ER, reader? We did not. Kind of hilariously, that was my first instinct, because, you know, uninsured people go to the emergency room. We will not be turned away! But then I remembered that the ER is a terrible place to be unless you're dying, which boyfriend was not (except in the grander scheme in which we all are dying, but the ER cannot do anything about that). Plus the ER seemed like a scary option, cost-wise. Do you know what comes up when you Google "cost of an ER visit?" A Yahoo Answers thread from 2007. And then: some personal blog posts and message boards, all horror stories of people going to the ER for a stomachache or shortness of breath, and owing between $1,500 and $11,000 at the end of the day.
So we skipped the ER and went to urgent care. Portland has an amazing urgent care clinic called Zoomcare. The company was founded by two doctors interested in providing affordable healthcare for everyone, insured or not (read a great write-up in the Portland Business Journal). All appointments are same-day appointments, patients can access their records online, and most importantly for us, they are transparent with their costs. Their price lists for out-of-pocket visits are published on their website. A basic visit is $89. A visit like ours, with wound-cleaning and stitches, is $179.
And, reader, it really did cost us $179. The doctor cleaned his cut with iodine, numbed it with a shot, and then happily told J that he is the luckiest guy ever because the knife cut all the way to the tendon, but didn't cut it. What would have happened if it had, I asked. It would be a one-way ticket to a hand surgeon, she said. Which made me like, die, because: I don't think the hand surgeon would have prices online, and if they were, I don't think they would be in the three-figures. So: Boyfriend got three stitches, we paid $179 with our debit card, and it was all over. Well, the worrying about bleeding to death or paying for stitches until death part was over. We went to the drugstore and bought his prescription ($20), new bandages ($10), and antibiotic cream ($5). And then we came home and I threw all of our knives away. The end.
Total cost of cutting yourself with a knife, including stitches, prescription, bandages, antibiotic cream, and two towels: $218 (A steal!)
Here's what happened on Bundle while doctor was stitching boyfriend up, boyfriend was cracking jokes, and I was splashing water on my face because, is that white part his tendon? Why yes, yes it is:
• Kate Ashford's Women in Red column discussed moving abroad to find work. We all know someone who is making it happen (I have friends in London, Spain, and Peru who are all happily making it work), and Kate is here to say that we can do it, too.
• Mike Dang presented his very simple savings plan: Just say "no". Seriously, it's amazing how much money he saved once he stopped his drug habit. Get it? Just say no ... to drugs ... the campaign against drugs ... nevermind. Back to Mike, he doesn't buy stuff, and he saves money. It works.
• Presh Talwalkar reported that customers who read slogans about savings ended up spending more. We are so dumb, all of us.
Today's question comes in honor of my boyfriend's three stitches and also Google's lack of content on the cost on ER visit. Have you ever been to the ER? How much did it cost you? Answer here, on Facebook, or on Twitter #ercost
Why you need $500 in the bank
Bank of America pushes $18 a month health insurance
The cost of an ambulance ride