The (Monetary) Costs of Melanoma

January 14, 2010 · 13 comments

Ever since I was diagnosed with Melanoma back in July, the bills have been piling up.  Fortunately, Mike has very good insurance through his company and our out of pocket expenses have been minimal – I think we may have spent more in $2 parking structure fees for each visit than total copays at this point.  We are lucky.

The whole government health care reform is a touchy subject for a lot of people – but not for me. See, I believe that everyone deserves health care, and affordable care at that.  The insurance companies are making a LOT of money, and since I’m on the side of health related work, I can tell you that the doctors don’t see squat compared to the insurance companies.  Other countries are successful with it, and if we’re the “greatest country in the world”, why couldn’t it work for us?

Anyway, just for fun, I thought I’d share my bills with you.  Remember, this is from diagnosis through physical therapy and everything in between.  I can’t even imagine the costs if I had had to go through the interferon or chemo. Oh, and for fun, know that while I was going through all of this, there was a 6 week period in which neither Mike nor myself received paychecks, so if we hadn’t had insurance, we would either have lost our house or be on the way to it, or would be making payments to U of M for YEARS.  If that isn’t an incentive to get people covered, I’m not sure what is.

  • 07.13.09 – Initial visit with Dermatologist (out of network) – [$180]*
  • 07.13.09 – Pathology $175
  • 07.20.09 – Microslide Consult $216
  • 07.29.09 – Cancer Consult Visit – $415 [$20]*
  • 08.20.09 – Pre-Op Visit #1  Includes crutches, bloodwork and labs. $216
  • 08.26.09 – Surgery #1 (outpatient) Includes all things surgical, down to the gown, sutures, etc. $9,435
  • 09.25.09 – Initial Stockings (2 pr) $380
  • 09.29.09 – Surgery #2 (23 hrs of care, still outpatient) – Inclues all things surgical, plus drain and supplies. $12,616.60
  • 10.13.09 – Office Visit $319 [$20]*
  • 10.28.09 – MRI#1 and CT #1-3, includes dyes $9,073
  • 11.30.09 – Physical Therapy – $616
  • 12.01.09 – MRI#2, including dyes $2,663
  • 12.07.09 – Physical Therapy – $420
  • 12.08.09 – Labs /  bloodwork for follow-up $236
  • 12.08.09 – Office Visit – $100
  • 12.14.09 – Physical Therapy – $336
  • 12.14.09 – New compression stockings (1 pair) $152

Grand Total: $37,548.60

*[] Amounts we paid out of pocket.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

mommabird2345 January 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I agree with you, EVERYONE should have affordable health care. It’s amazing how much everything costs.

When my oldest daughter was younger, she needed eye surgery. We received a statement afterward, and her 1 hr. surgery cost just about $10,000. She had to have the same procedure 3 other times. Luckily we had insurace, because there is no way we could have paid $40,000. I realize not everyone is so lucky, something definitely has to change.


Molly January 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I couldn’t agree more. What a great post!


Molly (not the same Molly from above) January 14, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Whoa, those are biggie costs! Just yesterday I made some offhand comment to my mom about “can’t I just NOT have insurance for a little bit?” because it’s going to cost $700 to insure me (per month) in between the time I graduate from college and start a new job.She just looked at me and went “uh no.”

This gives a pretty good breakdown as to why we need universal coverage. Is it going to be perfect? No. Of course not. But I know many families who have kids with medical special needs and they’re bankrupt trying to keep their kids alive. That’s just wrong.


Norm January 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Yes, I’m way too familiar with all the costs of health care, and I’ve seen many people absolutely buried by the mountains of costs. This country has what I feel to be the best medical system in the world and yet many people can’t afford it–to me, that’s a bunch of bs. Thanks for sharing this with us Dawn, and I truly am happy that you’ve come through this alright. Cancer sucks.
.-= Norm´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Merry Christmas, Everyone =-.


phenom January 15, 2010 at 10:11 am

If nothing else, you’ve met your “Molly” quota for this post. 😀
.-= phenom´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Sympathetic to the problem, but not the timing =-.


Anonymous January 15, 2010 at 10:17 am

So you had a lymph node dissection in your groin right?


Dawn January 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Yes, anon, I did.


Shine January 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Wow, the costs are ridiculous, I don’t understand why it has to be so expensive. Though not as astronomical, my bills looked similar for the C-section births of both my boys. Healthcare should be a right not a priviledge, I hope we get our shit together soon.


alejna January 17, 2010 at 12:24 am

“…I believe that everyone deserves health care, and affordable care at that.”

I agree, wholeheartedly.

Thanks for sharing these details. The costs tell a powerful story.
.-= alejna´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..The December Just Posts =-.


Al_Pal January 21, 2010 at 4:03 am

Yeah, when I broke my leg [fortunately, on my parents’ health insurance!], they [parents] paid about 5k out of a 25k bill. About 5k was surgery; the rest was the 4 nights in the hospital. (They kept me an extra night to pump in another pint of blood.) Fun. ;S


magpie February 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

Thank you for sharing all of that. It’s indeed shocking. I had two colonoscopies last summer – and the doctors/hospital billed the insurance company nearly $15,000 ( They didn’t get paid that, but still, it’s a boatload of money – and that was only for diagnosis – not even treatment, like in your case. Argh.


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