Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 48 - So how much does heart surgery cost?

March 28, 2012

Covering a couple days news here. Food pictures are being held for the next post.

As the subject line says, So how much does heart surgery cost? We'll get to that in a minute. First, rehab news. And no cheating by skipping down a few paragraphs. lol

So yesterday I had rehab. It went okay from my perspective. The Airdyne bike gives me the best work out. Megan, one of my rehab techs, says that an airdyne bike gives a better workout than any other piece of equipment. And I believe it. The airdyne can either be used for your arms or your legs. I'm currently doing 3 minutes with my arms and am at level 0.6. With my legs I'm doing 7 minutes and reaching level 1.5. I don't know exactly how the level is determined but it reflects the amount of "work" or "energy" you are expending.

I also lifted some weights. A whole 3 pounds in each hand. Haha. Sadly, by the time I'm done with my 3 minute weightlifting, they feel more than 3 pounds. O_O I only get through about three-fourths of the exercises on the board but the techs have said they will be increasing the amount of time I'm allowed to do weights so I'll get to do the entire board eventually.

I also walk around the track and use a NuStep recumbent cross trainer. I get a decent workout from the cross trainer. Walking is at my pace so I can't say that's too hard or too easy.

But enough of my rehab info. Let's get to the stuff you really wanted to see. So, how much does open heart surgery cost these days?

Well, my situation is a little unique although maybe not as much as I think. If I hadn't had as much blockage as I did, I would have had a couple stents put in and been out of the hospital probably a week sooner than I was. Unfortunately, my left coronary artery had blockage on a couple of the "branches", one had 100% blockage and another had 90% at the top and 70% further down. It was the 100% and 90% blockage that was the problem, if I remember all of it correctly. So open heart surgery was the only other option. And from the reports I've got from my insurance company, that isn't cheap.

As of March 26, 2012, the total cost of my "visit" to the hospital has bee $182,450.30. Yes, you read that correctly, One hundred eighty-two thousand four-hundred fifty dollars and thirty cents. I'm glad I had insurance.

The Heart Institute visit cost $4,821.00. Surgery and related costs were $175,128.28. Post-op visits, etc. - $1,769.00. Drugs have cost $2,501.02 so far. I hope to be getting off of some of the drugs I'm taking in a few months. But I'll still be on the full batch until at least 3 months from now when I get my heart checked to see how the arteries and capillaries are doing.

And there will be more costs still. I have the rehab that I'm sure isn't free. Plus follow-up doctor appointments, blood work for cholesterol, an ultrasound to check my heart, drugs, etc.

Well, there it is. The cost of heart surgery here in northeast Indiana. Obviously that cost can be more or less depending on where you live. And that cost is without any discounts negotiated by your insurance company. Mine insurance company had discounts. The cost was still well over $100,000 but not the full $182k.

Next time we'll get back to pictures of food, more rehab news, and an update from my post-op visit with Dr. Sowden, my heart surgeon.


  1. Staggering! When DJ had his first surgery in 1988 I think the hospital bill was $35,000.00 and he was in about 10 days (was running a temp). When he had the re-do in 1997, it was well over 50,000.00, but he was only in about 5 days. Surgeons bill was around 5-6k each time, I think. Then there were all the other costs which I can't remember. Insurance covered it well after we had reached our "stop gap" amount. Sounds like the rehab is going well. Good to be doing it with techs so you learn to do it at the right pace.

  2. We knew it would be high. Thelma's knee surgery was around 90,000 so yours would be higher. Not sure exactly what insurance paid back then. Glad rehab is doing good. Is the food out there as good as on State St

  3. The food is as good as on State St. Some of it is even better. They make the pasta right in front of you when you order it. Haven't tried that yet but it sounds really good.