Remember when I discussed my recent experiences regarding surgery for my perennial lower back pain?
I feel the urgency to bring you up to snuff on my journey to wellness.
Simply put: You can’t achieve wellness without health insurance. As a senior citizen, I have Medicare coverage, with HMSA as my secondary insurance, and boy, am I lucky.
My procedure, if you recall, involved minor surgery to implant a battery in my left butt, and wires on my spine, to embrace the technology of neurostimulation to address the sore back.
It’s working, thank God, since my pain management doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Loh at Queen’s Medical Center, implanted the battery and wires as an alternate means to reduce my pain levels.
Yes, the bionic implants let my brain know that the aches are, well, decreasing.
But here’s the thing: Surgery costs. A lot. Plenty, in fact.
Insurance will be covering most of the fees.
I won’t admit what the final bill is, since I’ve yet to receive one, but a preliminary “statement” from Queen’s — outlining sums for all elements of the surgery — was astonishing.
I could have bought perhaps three or four brand new mid-range cars, in cash. Or, if I went the luxury auto route, I might have been able to possibly secure two new cars.
The statement was a wake-up call. I never discussed the anticipated cost with my surgeon, but I knew insurance would provide courage. I did not expect the costliness of the procedure — part of the Same Day Surgery service, where I was admitted to Queen’s mid-afternoon, prepped for the incisions, and nursed in both the pre- and post-surgery process.
The statement broke down the charges for the procedure, for pharmacy fees, for OR charges, for other supplies and for anesthesia.
I’m not complaining but I am so appreciative of the medical plan, which covers all costs, including medication, hopefully making my co-payment minimal.
I had supportive, wonderful nurses, before and after the surgery, and I thank Dr. Loh, for his guidance and his service.
I will always remember my few hours at Queen’s, notably for a photo of myself wearing the requisite blue shower-like cap, to keep the hair in place during the procedure. My cousin quipped, after seeing me becapped: “Everything’s better with blue bonnet on it.”
It was sorta the sonnet of this experience.
But one curiosity of the prelim statement. It had a charge listed as my co-pay. For $1. No zeroes. A buck. Can you imagine this?