The cost of an accident in the USA?

Accident Bruised leg. Spirit Lake ParamedicsIt’s been a week since Steven’s water skiing accident in Spirit Lake, Iowa, see the blog The Spirit Lake Paramedics – a welcome sight.  His buttock and leg is sore and yesterday the bruising appeared. Now the back of his thigh is an interesting pattern of mottled black, blue and yellow and he has an intriguing bright blue spider web bruise on his buttock.

accident Spirit LakeHe has graduated from crutches to an old man, collapsible walking stick and with the help of analgesics and muscle relaxants is managing to get around quite well. We are back on the road again with minimal changes to our travel plans. My fury at him contracting “I’m really a young man” disease and attempting to water ski after 20 years, with no preparation, is dissipating and I am treating him with kindness…. Mostly!



I'm not really angry at having to manage ALL the bags! after the accident
I’m not really angry at having to manage ALL the bags!

We were able to stay and enjoy the tranquility of Spirit Lake for a few days longer, thanks to the generosity of our hosts Marilyn and Frank and we will always remember the kindness of their neighbours who provided crutches, walking sticks, nursing advice, dinner, internet connection and laxatives!

Despite always taking out travel insurance, the cost of having an accident or getting ill overseas has long been a fear of mine, particularly in the USA, as we Australians hear horrendous stories about the cost of medical treatment here. Surprisingly the hospital did not ask us for a cent after I provided the travel insurance information and we have not yet had a bill. I am sure that this is not the end of the story and that there will be claim forms to be filled in and negotiations to be made. I was relieved, while sitting in the hospital, to find that the insurer’s website tells me that we are covered for water skiing… whew….. Lets hope that there is no fine print exclusion anywhere.

So let’s have a competition. How much do you think a ride in an ambulance, five hours in emergency, a few doses of morphine, some anti-nausea drugs, muscle relaxants, x-rays, a set of crutches and a consultation with the doctor will cost. Closest to the hospital bill wins. I’ll let you know the winner when we get the bill. The prize for the winner will be the smug satisfaction of being right.

27 thoughts on “The cost of an accident in the USA?

  1. Mo Use Moorhouse 23/06/2015 / 12:19 am

    $3500USD? I am the only guess so Im gonna be closest and win!

  2. Gail Reid 23/06/2015 / 12:40 am

    $2500? Glad Steve is healing and you are able to continue your holiday, maybe not “on the run” lol See you soon!

  3. Fairy 23/06/2015 / 6:07 am

    Wow! I have only just caught up with the whole saga which sounds incredibly painful. Sorry, Steve, but as an operating room nurse I actually reveled in the graphic description – you described it well.

    As for the cost? $14,250 is my guess. I do hope the travel insurance covers it all.

    Best wishes for the continuing trip.

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 7:59 am

      Whoop your guess is higher than mine. I’m thinking $5,000 but I won’t be asking them to send the bill in a hurry.

  4. Anonymous 23/06/2015 / 8:22 am

    $8.000 is my guess!!! Get well soon Steve. How much more travelling do you guys have to do? Such an awesome holiday. Love reading your blogs.xx

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 8:28 am

      Only just over three weeks to go…. Going too fast!

  5. Anonymous 23/06/2015 / 8:51 am

    $7500 is my guess. Thank God for the NHS!!

    • Anne 26/06/2015 / 9:51 am

      Still waiting to find out…. will let everyone know when we know…. hope most of you are wrong.

  6. Peter 23/06/2015 / 8:54 am

    $7500 is my guess, thank god for the NHS !!

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 12:43 pm

      I want it to be much lower in case we have to pay

  7. Naomi 23/06/2015 / 8:54 am

    I’m thinking $16000….. However your insurance company will be negotiating hard! Spectacular bruise by the way

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 12:42 pm

      You are scaring me. Hope you’re wrong!

  8. Rohan 23/06/2015 / 9:59 am

    USD $ 2300 – and I’m so with Steve on this one – the odd smash up is a price worth paying for the adrenaline rush!

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 12:41 pm

      Love it….what can I say I promise I’ll be kinder to htm

  9. Christine 23/06/2015 / 5:33 pm

    The cost that the fund will pay will probably be in the 10’s of thousands, hopefully what you will have to pay is minimal!

    • Anne 23/06/2015 / 6:41 pm

      I hope so too

  10. mummyspitsthedummy 23/06/2015 / 8:15 pm

    I wouldn’t even dare guess at the cost, but I hope the amount passed on to you is minimal! I read a Reddit thread the other day on the cost of having a baby in the US – people were saying they walked out of hospital with their newborn baby… and a bill for about $20000. They were horrified to hear that we have our babies for FREE over here!
    Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery and non-crippling medical expenses!

    • Anne 24/06/2015 / 6:40 am

      I like that term a “non crippling medical expense” it’s certainly what I’m hoping for.

  11. Sharron 23/06/2015 / 10:36 pm

    $5,500. When I smashed my leg in Prague 3 yrs ago the ambulance was an old Kombi Van, the Hospital trolley had bicycle wheels & no painkillers & they charged me 80 euros to tell me not a thing was wrong with my black dangly ankle & foot. I spent 4 months in a wheelchair & rehab hospital so I’m guessing u got value for money!! 😀

    • Anne 24/06/2015 / 6:42 am

      Yes our experience was much better than yours. And while I am interested in the bill I am extremely thankful for the assistance.

  12. Anonymous 24/06/2015 / 1:32 pm

    From an American: My kids have ended up in the ED a few times, a few ambulance rides, allergic anaphylaxis, broken bones…but with my health insurance it’s usually just a couple hundred US$. I’m sure you will be fine with your insurance….Good luck. If you need some help with the forms and payment, I’d be glad to do it….We are not all bad or crazy people 😉

    • Anne 25/06/2015 / 7:27 am

      I’m pretty sure we will be ok with the Insurance too, but I have a healthy skepticism until the deal is done. My ambulance ride last year, in Australia as an Australian cost me nothing and while we have private health insurance which covers hospital stays, our health systems are quite different. I also think that medical treatment anywhere we have travelled would be very expensive but I am fascinated to find out how much it actually cost. Thanks for the offer of help with the forms. Most of the Americans I’ve met have been kind, helpful and fun so I certainly dont think of you as bad or crazy!

  13. Greg Moorhouse 25/06/2015 / 10:34 am

    Hi Steve and Anne, the time to recover, the physio bills, massage and inconvenience will out way the $s, I can vouch from experience… same age at the time, still able to do what I did 20 years ago and same outcome only I was on frozen water…snow….torn Right Hammy and torn left Calf,,, good luck with the recovery Steve… Stretch … stretch… stretch is the required recovery program…ie slow stretching ends of towel held in each hand while you’re on your back, thro towel over affected legs foot and slowly pull your leg via, the towel, upwards while keeping the leg straight, hold for as long as you can, relax then repeat 6 – 10 time and repeat all of the above at least twice a day… it hurts like hell but will ensure muscle doesn’t shrink/contract as it heals and so allowing continued good performance on bike etc!!!!! oh re cost $25,000 including Ambo . my physio fee…. red wine when next in Radelaide! Best wishes Greg and Rose

    • Anne 26/06/2015 / 12:24 am

      You are scaring me Greg! Though it sounds like a family trait to think you are younger than you are. I will encourage him to do the stretches, thanks. Happy to share a red wine with you next time we catch up!

    • Anne 24/07/2015 / 8:27 pm

      The answer will be revealed in a blog soon to be posted!

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