Has anyone had to deal with surgeries/insurance during med school?

Depakote

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About 1/2 way through my first year I hurt my knee and have had 1 surgery and 1 manipulation under anesthesia. Needless to say, this has been a major distraction and my grades have suffered.

On top of this, it has been very expensive. I reached my $500 out of pocket deductible but I'm starting to get bills for items that insurance is refusing to cover. Some of these bills are over $1200. I barely stayed on budget last semester, I've already spent 500 unplanned dollars, I don't know where I'll find $1200. (I'm going to appeal this to insurance)

Has anyone had to deal with anything similar? How did you manage your grades? How did you pay for it?
 

Ashers

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I'm not sure if this'll be much help at all since I didn't have the insurance issues, and my surgery happened shortly before spring break.

I had emergency surgery last year as an M2. I was out of class for 3 days, but I should've been out more (I was in class on percocet and darvocet because I couldn't sit without pain; I almost fainted in my physical exam course due to weakness/anemia/hot exam room/etc). Technically, I was excused for 3 days, so I showed up when I was no longer excused, and I felt terrible.

I spent hours in the library trying to catch up, and I had the surgery about a week before spring break, so I used that time to do a lot of studying.

It is an extremely hard thing to deal with -- surgery or any of that stuff. I let my professors know what happened, in case anything else happened. I was able to maintain my grades, but now, I'm having lots of attendings asking me why I didn't continue the research I did the summer between M1 and M2 year. The main reason is that I had surgery, and I wouldn't have been able to be in the lab during spring break doing research.

I didn't have to deal with insurance. I only had to pay the $10 copay for my visit to student health before I was sent over for a CT scan --> ER --> floor --> surg. I guess I'm lucky in that respect.

I wish you the best of luck. It's doable, but hard. It'll be something you can talk about for residency interviews, I'm sure.
 

ubcredfox

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Your situation is insane. I feel for you. I know of at least a half-dozen people who underwent some form of major surgery or intensive medical therapy and the cost to all of them, combined, was 0 dollars.
 

cpants

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Reach out to your dean of students. They may be able to help you with some of the financial issues, or at least the future ones. I have heard of professors/administrators helping out with a free after-hours CT scan or making your share of a bill disappear after the insurance reimbursement. It's worth a try. Also, they will definitely be able to help out with the school issues...getting a test moved, excused absence from lab/class, or if necessary a leave of absence. Get the dean on your team. He will make things happen to make sure you get through this unscathed.
 

Allerian1004

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Your Dean might be able to help. My dean is willing to help change micro for me (I'm immunocompromised), help third year with rotations etc. They can also pull strings with professors to make sure you're able to take your exams etc. at a different time if you're in the hospital etc.
 

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In regards to your medical bills -- I have had to pay my own medical bills since I graduated high school. I've been on my parents insurance but still forced bo pay co-pays and those services not covered by my insurance.

If I get an outrageous bill and the insurance company refuses to cover it, I always call up the hospital and give them your situation. The hospital or physicians office will almost always work with you and will sometimes reduce the bill for you and setup a very easy payment plan.
 
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Depakote

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Thanks for all the advice thus far.

update: I had someone look at my insurance policy and the rejection for the $1200 claim, it looks like I should be able to appeal that one successfully. It's just a hassle I don't need at the moment, but it'll be a lot easier than coming up with the money.

I'll probably try to talk to the dean of students sometime next week. If for nothing than to just make her aware of the situation.

Thanks all.
 

ZagDoc

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Thanks for all the advice thus far.

update: I had someone look at my insurance policy and the rejection for the $1200 claim, it looks like I should be able to appeal that one successfully. It's just a hassle I don't need at the moment, but it'll be a lot easier than coming up with the money.

I'll probably try to talk to the dean of students sometime next week. If for nothing than to just make her aware of the situation.

Thanks all.
Best of luck!
 

lilnoelle

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I've been dealing with a similar insurance issue, but not a surgery. My daughter needed some lab work that I thought would be covered and the insurance company said it wasn't. I appealed with no success and tried to reduce the amount I owe without success. The bill is $1340. I'm paying it over a period of 6 months and got some help from my parents. The whole deal has made me seriously consider taking my kids off insurance. I pay almost $3000 a year on the family's health insurance and when I actually need it, they didn't cover the bill. I just as well pay out of pocket. Obviously there are scenerios in which health care costs would exceed insurance costs, and thats why I've still got the insurance, but I'm not too happy about it.
 

digitlnoize

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I've been dealing with a similar insurance issue, but not a surgery. My daughter needed some lab work that I thought would be covered and the insurance company said it wasn't. I appealed with no success and tried to reduce the amount I owe without success. The bill is $1340. I'm paying it over a period of 6 months and got some help from my parents. The whole deal has made me seriously consider taking my kids off insurance. I pay almost $3000 a year on the family's health insurance and when I actually need it, they didn't cover the bill. I just as well pay out of pocket. Obviously there are scenerios in which health care costs would exceed insurance costs, and thats why I've still got the insurance, but I'm not too happy about it.
If it is ever possible to postpone the surgery until a break, I would do that. I actually have an arrythmia that I may decide to have ablated at some point. If I do, it'll be between years...and that's an easy outpatient procedure...

If it's emergent, say...appy, you're kinda SOL. If you're income is low, you probably qualify for aid of some type (federal or from the hospital).
 

AwesomO

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While it sounds a little out there, considering hiring a lawyer to bargain with the hospital. Of course the hospital will tell you that you have to pay the whole bill but with a lawyer you can negotiate the fees down. For instance you could offer them 10% more than the insurance companies would of paid which would still be significantly less than the total bill.
From what I've seen for a 1300 bill the hospital is lucky if the insurance company reimbursts them at a rate of 700. If they are offered say 800 in cash they would gladly take it. However they wont take it over 1300 which is where the lawyer comes in to negotiate for you. They can also work out a reasonable payment schedule.
 

45408

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While it sounds a little out there, considering hiring a lawyer to bargain with the hospital. Of course the hospital will tell you that you have to pay the whole bill but with a lawyer you can negotiate the fees down. For instance you could offer them 10% more than the insurance companies would of paid which would still be significantly less than the total bill.
From what I've seen for a 1300 bill the hospital is lucky if the insurance company reimbursts them at a rate of 700. If they are offered say 800 in cash they would gladly take it. However they wont take it over 1300 which is where the lawyer comes in to negotiate for you. They can also work out a reasonable payment schedule.
Lawyers are mad expensive yo. By the time he gets a lawyer involved for a $1200 bill, it's almost already overkill. If it were me, I'd haggle with the insurance forever and exhaust my appeals.
 
G

Grace34

You have to be careful with insurance - once I got a bill for $1200, but when I called the insurance turns out the hospital had billed it under the wrong code - so that was fixed fairly quickly. Had I not called, they would have gladly taken my money.

On the other hand, one year I did have over $3000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses. Hello, credit cards.
 

BSN2DOC

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I've been dealing with a similar insurance issue, but not a surgery. My daughter needed some lab work that I thought would be covered and the insurance company said it wasn't. I appealed with no success and tried to reduce the amount I owe without success. The bill is $1340. I'm paying it over a period of 6 months and got some help from my parents. The whole deal has made me seriously consider taking my kids off insurance. I pay almost $3000 a year on the family's health insurance and when I actually need it, they didn't cover the bill. I just as well pay out of pocket. Obviously there are scenerios in which health care costs would exceed insurance costs, and thats why I've still got the insurance, but I'm not too happy about it.
Ouch, I would never take your children off your insurance. Like another poster said, if there was every any emergency (car accident, appy, etc.), you would be screwed.

I just an appy on February 1st and thankfully my out-of-pocket has only been around $600, but my total medical bills were almost $25,000.