Don’t get a snakebite in the United States

Those of you who have read this blog from the beginning will know that one of my biggest worries before moving to the United States was finding affordable healthcare for my family who was coming from London, where it is socialized. I wrote several postings about my adventures in healthcare, which threatened to give me a nervous breakdown.

Well, I was right to worry so much about it. Today, on the local San Diego news, I heard about a 23-year-old Norwegian exchange student who was bitten by a baby rattlesnake on his way to his car in a parking lot.

He managed to limp his way to a hospital – he was luckily across the street from Scripps Mercy Hospital in La Jolla – and was treated at the medical facility overnight.

He says his care was top-notch. Good thing, too, because his bill came to … drum roll, please … $143,000. The anti-venom he was injected with twice came to a staggering $128,050. An itemized bill flashed on the television screen with bits highlighted for viewers.

I’m not sure who is setting these ridiculous prices, but there is something obscenely comical about it. How can an injection for a snakebite cost over $100,000?

The poor kid did, thankfully, have insurance. His insurers – who claim they have never seen anything like it – are now in a dispute with Scripps over the billing, which was apparently ‘accurate and appropriate’.

You can read how a Norwegian website in English reported it here.


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