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Old 03-25-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
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No insurance... discectomy?

Hi! My name is Sarah, and I am new around these parts. I am trying to find information and was hoping y'all could help me. First a quick intro:
I am in my late 20's and married with 2 little kiddos. My son is nearly 2 and my daughter was born this past December. That is where all my problems began. I had sciatica during the last few months of the pregnancy, which was deemed normal. I had my daughter, and the pain went away for about 2 weeks. I kept begging the doctors for help as the pain became more and more debilitating. The OB and my regular doc both took so long, I lost my insurance (was scheduled to lose it 2 months after delivery).

So here I am, looking at a probable discectomy of some sort, with no doctor and no insurance. My chiropractor is the one running the tests. He was cheaper cash pay then a physician. If I need surgery, I should find out this week or next because I am going to cash pay an MRI. The problem is that my family is extremely low income to begin with, and with me not working, we are pretty much out of savings.

We have a medical discount program, but the deal is that the entire amount needs to be paid up front. For everything.

Please, if you don't mind sharing... how much did YOUR discectomy cost and did you have insurance? I am trying to average out what I may be looking at here and figuring whether I need to sell my car ... or my first born.
Thanks!

 
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: No insurance...discectomy?

I just checked some old bills -- my lumbar MRI was $5500, but insurance discounted it to about $3100 paid in total to the facility. I didn't have a discectomy, and I don't want to scare you with how much my fusion cost.

You should look for state-run programs, look into getting a job working for a state or federal agency (even if it means taking a cut in pay), apply for charity at hospitals, apply for treatment at university hospitals, call Planned Parenthood, which has plenty of information about medical care for those who can't afford it.

My brother had insurance for a medical emergency, but still had extensive co-pays and the hospital approved him for charity care for two years. He was not working at the time, so had zero income (mom was paying the insurance premiums).

Even if you can't locate assistance, negotiate with the hospital and doctors. Insurance companies typically pay 50 percent or less of what the hospitals charge. Good luck, and so sorry for your situation.

 
Old 03-26-2012, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: No insurance...discectomy?

[QUOTE=SweetPeainSF;4950448]I just checked some old bills -- my lumbar MRI was $5500, but insurance discounted it to about $3100 paid in total to the facility. I didn't have a discectomy, and I don't want to scare you with how much my fusion cost.

You should look for state-run programs, look into getting a job working for a state or federal agency (even if it means taking a cut in pay), apply for charity at hospitals, apply for treatment at university hospitals, call Planned Parenthood, which has plenty of information about medical care for those who can't afford it.

My brother had insurance for a medical emergency, but still had extensive co-pays and the hospital approved him for charity care for two years. He was not working at the time, so had zero income (mom was paying the insurance premiums).

Even if you can't locate assistance, negotiate with the hospital and doctors. Insurance companies typically pay 50 percent or less of what the hospitals charge. Good luck, and so sorry for your situation.[/QUOTE]

MRI lumbar spine in Canada $699. How near are you to the border?
James

 
Old 03-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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Re: No insurance... discectomy?

Actually, my retail X-ray (3 views) price was $791; insurance valued the service at $360ish. Seriously, do whatever you can to get assistance. Don't allow your need for medical treatment to disrupt your entire life.

Not sure if going to Canada is an option, but I would certainly not recommend going the medical tourism route, as in travel to India, etc. While I am sure that many people may have good outcomes, some just as surely do not. And those unlucky folks are just (fill in the blank).

 
Old 03-27-2012, 06:01 AM   #5
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Re: No insurance... discectomy?

GP, if you can, try and get onto medical assistance. I don't know what your own situation is, but if it is an option, try it. I have been there myself. There is no shame in needing some help once in awhile.

Last edited by Administrator; 03-27-2012 at 09:14 AM.

 
Old 03-27-2012, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: No insurance... discectomy?

I have never had a discectomy, so I don't know what that procedure would run. Don't want to freak you out, but here are some numbers from some procedures I have had. The only procedures I have had done over the last several years that I remember the costs of was an emergency appendectomy at $17,000 and my three level bilateral RF Ablation on facet joints, which was $7,000.

Medical care is ridiculously expensive anymore. Back in 1993, I had surgery on my right knee, (I actually remember the cost of that one too) and it was about $7,000.

The RF Ablation and right knee surgery were both outpatient, and the Ablation wasn't even surgery. The appendectomy resulted in a two night hospital stay.

 
Old 03-27-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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Re: No insurance... discectomy?

MRIs used to only be associated with hospitals or clinics, but now there are free-standing facilities that are for-profit businesses. I hear ads for one in my town and it is $600 for a lumbar MRI. Perhaps you have something similar in your area.

 
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