Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Lied, You Aren't the Million Dollar Baby...

... you're the 1.3 million dollar baby.  Wait, let me write that out numerically, commas and all, so that no shock and awe is lost.  I'll even give the number its own paragraph.  And an exclamation point.  In fact, two exclamation points.


I remember writing a letter last year in which I predicted the NICU bill would come out somewhere below 1 million dollars.  Silly me.  You can't put a price on a human life, so if you are the billing department for a hospital, why not shoot for the stars?  As it turns out, like a lot of hospital expenses, what a person gets charged is pretty arbitrary depending on what hospital you are at.  I know one woman who's baby was in the NICU for 8 months, had 6 surgeries, etc. etc.  What was her bill?  1.1 million.  You, Ellie, must just be special.

Your mother came across this little gem while she was going through the hospital bills:

For some reason, it seems like this formal document--- which slings around 9 digit numbers casually as though it were a receipt from Subway--- should have a little more pazzaz.  You know, to better capture the gravity of such a bill.

Since they didn't, I've done it for them:

Lucky for us, our portion of the NICU bill was a little less than 1 percent of the total bill.  At first, that doesn't sound like too much, but any percentage of $1,300,000 is still pretty pricey.


  1. OMG...thank god you guys had a good insurance plan.But nonetheless, ouch.

    But this money could not have been better spent.

    1. Yep, money well spent. We were more than happy to shift 99 percent of the cost of her life onto the premiums of other fine, respectable health insurance customers. Interestingly, our insurance company tried desperately to drop us after Ellie was born because they didn't want to get stuck with the bill ("What? After years of faithfully, automatically billing our account when we weren't sick you now, all of the sudden have a billing glitch that is preventing you from charging us? And our "deliquincy is now grounds for termination?")

      It's interesting though because if the Affordable Care Act hadn't gone into effect 3 weeks before Ellie was born, we'd probably be financially ruined. We'd have hit our lifetime cap and be shopping for insurance with wildly inflated premiums because of Ellie's "pre-existing condition." There's no way the insurance companies would let her extreme prematurity slide under their radar. So I guess I owe Obama a hug.

      Either way, Ellie had better invent the next Large Hadron Collider or the Warp Drive.

    2. Omg... You do indeed. If I come back with an initial contract position with say, a company like Amgen instead of a full-time one, or, absolutely worst case scanrio, have to freelance write/edit in the US for a few months, I would as well. Thank god there are these options now.

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