HELP How Much Does Gall Bladder Surgery Cost? Is It Really Necessary?
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  1. #1
    Registered User hippytreehugger4ever's Avatar
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    Default HELP How Much Does Gall Bladder Surgery Cost? Is It Really Necessary?

    Howdy everyone. Last night I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain, which turned out to be gall stones. I'm already panicking about that bill. The dr said that I'll need surgery in the next month before it get any worse (there's gall stones moving around in there, but their not blocking anything--yet). I really don't think I'll qualify for Medicaid. We don't make a ton of money, but we make just enough to pay the basic bills and I've heard that you pretty much have to be pregnant and completely flat broke to qualify. Are there any other programs out there that can help with medical costs? If this ends up costing what I think it's going to, it will break us for the next several years. I'm already not allowed to go back to work until 4-6 weeks after surgery (at least I think that's what he said, I was so doped up on pain medication that I don't remember much of it).

    GallBladder on Frugalvillage.com
    Last edited by Gabe; 02-24-2009 at 10:15 AM.

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    Registered User joyofsix's Avatar
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    I went to the ER at 4am the 4th of July with the same thing. I'm scheduled to have surgery on Aug 4th. Mine will be laproscopic and I'll go home the same day. I've only got 2 weeks of lifting restrictions. I'd recheck that 4-6 week thing. I hope it goes well for you. My MD said I could wait for another attack before surgery. Yeah, right, like I'd want to do that again.
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    Registered User Mrsokdee's Avatar
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    First off (((hugs))) and sorry you are in so much pain. Next contact the hospital. They might be able to help you find resources to help pay for the bill. I know the surgery cost will vary from place to place. Good luck.

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    Registered User suki's Avatar
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    Okay, first, do you have more than one hospital in your area? If so, comparison shop the procedure.

    Second, contact the hospital and ask for their financial assistance programs. Start the paperwork NOW, as they can take some time and there is often a lot of documentation required.

    Third, go ahead and apply for Medicaid. Often the programs in step 2 require that you have applied for and been denied Medicaid. Even if they can look at your info and see you won't qualify, they want you to jump through that hoop.

    Fourth, ask the surgeon's office (or any other doc) about a cash discount option. (we saved 60% on hubby's surgery by paying cash to the surgeon up front)

    Once you've gathered the info... don't procrastinate. Jump through the hoops and do what you need to. You might be surprised at how much your bill will be reduced.
    Last edited by suki; 07-26-2008 at 11:30 AM.

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    Registered User mom2matty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joyofsix View Post
    I went to the ER at 4am the 4th of July with the same thing. I'm scheduled to have surgery on Aug 4th. Mine will be laproscopic and I'll go home the same day. I've only got 2 weeks of lifting restrictions. I'd recheck that 4-6 week thing. I hope it goes well for you. My MD said I could wait for another attack before surgery. Yeah, right, like I'd want to do that again.
    My surgery is August 4th too!! It will be done the same way, at the hospital but I'll get to come home after just a few hours. I was told I would need to take it easy for a day or 2 but that he wants me up and moving around within a couple of days.

    My surgeon said that I had 2 choices, continue to suffer and risk having one of the stones getting out and working its way through my system or having the surgery. The pain from my last attack (lasted 4 hours) was enough, I won't live through that again!!

    Good luck to you!!

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    jas
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    I feel for the both of you! I had my gallbladder removed when I was pregnant (early in my 2nd trimester) 16 years ago. I had had only one attack but since I was pregnant they wanted me to get it out before the pregnancy progressed and if I had another attack it might have caused me to go into labor early.

    I really don't know the cost for the surgury these days. I would like another poster suggested contact the hospital and try to work something out ahead of time negotiate reduced fees ect...

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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    I dont have an answer for you but just wanted to say I hope you can get it done in a timely manner with little pain to both you & your wallet.

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    Registered User Michelle68's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry you're suffering with gall stones. I had laparascopic surgery to remove my gallbladder last August. I know exactly what you mean by the pain. It is REALLY bad. IIRC, the total cost of my surgery (which was done in the hospital, but I was sent home the same day) cost about $9000-$10,000. Thank goodness we have insurance but we do have a high deductible so we paid $3000 out of pocket.

    Is there anyway you could go speak to the financial office at the hospital before you have surgery and see if there is a payment plan they can help you with? I know that our county hospital has something like this for people who don't have insurance.

    After my surgery, I was really in pain only for about a three days and then the pain subsided quite a bit. I had to be out of work for three weeks, but personally I felt that I could go back after two weeks. (I just had to get my doctor to release me.) I've really never heard of anyone who had the laparascopic surgery having to be out for six weeks.

    If you have any questions about anything feel free to PM me and make sure you avoid any rich, greasy or spicy foods until your surgery.


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    Registered User magnolia's Avatar
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    I'm sorry this is happening to you. I don't have any suggestions about the financing part but I just want to put in another vote for having the laproscopic procedure rather than having it done the old fashioned way. If your doctor doesn't do laproscopic find one that does. My dad had lots of different types of surgery in his life and he said by far the worst was his gallbladder surgery (done the old fashioned way). He said it was worse than his open heart surgery. I tell you this not to scare you but to encourage the easier way for you.

    {{Hugs}} to you.

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    jas
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnolia View Post
    I'm sorry this is happening to you. I don't have any suggestions about the financing part but I just want to put in another vote for having the laproscopic procedure rather than having it done the old fashioned way. If your doctor doesn't do laproscopic find one that does. My dad had lots of different types of surgery in his life and he said by far the worst was his gallbladder surgery (done the old fashioned way). He said it was worse than his open heart surgery. I tell you this not to scare you but to encourage the easier way for you.

    {{Hugs}} to you.
    Wow I am sorry that your dad had such a time of it with the old fashioned way. That is how they had to do my surgury since I was pregnant. Things may have changed since then. It has been a while. Given the choice I would have prefered to do it laproscopically. I now have kidney stones and have had the right side done where they go in and crush them and flush you out at the same time. There was no pain involved with that procedure. Thank God that I did not have to pass one.

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    Registered User Jellybeanz's Avatar
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    There is a program , and I'm not sure how it works state to state, but it's called vocational rehabilitation services. It is a program with limited funds and to tell the truth, I'm not sure whether it's state /federal or both. I know you just need to do some digging.

    One of this purposes ( don't know about other functions of it) is to help people who : have no health insurance , who do work a job, and thirdly to provide you with the help you need to return back to the workforce. It may have income limits, I know I had to take my income tax stuff in .... just not sure what they are or if they are for certain.

    How do I know this? I posted on it Frugal Village before when someone asked I think, but I cant remember the post title. Long story short, I had my thyroid and tumors removed while in the program. They stick with you till you get back to work.

    To this day I give thanks that I was blessed with an awesome doctor who took the initiative when he told me I had to have surgery and I told him I could not due to lack of health insurance at that time ( have it again.. for now! yay!)

    Anyway, ask your doctor have the heard of it, if not, google it to search for it. Try vocational rehabilitation services and then add your state to that.

    Also don't overlook anything. I didn't go into the docs with an attitude of looking for help.. I didn't think there was any. I knew I didn't qualify for Medicaid, I'd already checked. They thought it was cancer and to be honest I was prepared to just let it take it's course. I just got lucky and got a great doc who cared for more than just making a buck. They are actually out there! And his nurses were just as awesome!

    So.. don't give up... just keep looking. I've had gallbladder surgery too a long ways back ( had insurance then) and the pain was excrutiating!! I truly feel for you. It can also get dangerous if it blocks something. My sis had that happen which led to pancreatis I think? Something serious.. she was very sick I do know that.

    Wishing you the best.. please keep up posted on how it all goes. :-)
    Change Jar - 239.00 ~ March 18 , 2006

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    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    I agree that if it's laparascopic you can be back at work much sooner. I don't know how long I was out, but I know not more than two weeks at most.
    Donna

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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    My mom worked two jobs with three kids and as long as I can remember, we qualified for Medicaid. I also applied and was accepted when I got out of the Marine Corps for both me and my DS #1 when it was just the two of us. I would check into Medicaid just to be certain, then look at any other state/federal medical programs that can help you out.

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    Registered User dolphin's Avatar
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    {{{hippytreehugger4ever}}} Big hugs honey.

    I'm sorry for the pain you have already been through. Also sorry to tell you that you MUST have the surgery. Besides stones moving around, you can also have horrid fever and infection/complications due to not having the surgery in a timely manner.

    I am also figuring that your surgery including radiology, pathology, surgeon, hospital stay fees including the doctor that see's you in the hospital will run around $12,000 to $15,000 and that's on the low side in my area/town. Definitely call around to all of the hospitals and find out their services for people without insurance. I remember in southwest Missouri there is a special fund set aside from a philantrophist that pays for many hospital stays. But, it did not cover ALL of the hospitals. Just be certain to make payment arrangements within 30 days of your surgery. After that, you risk the bills heading for collection agencies.

    I'm so sorry you have to worry about your health, your job, and your finances all at the same time. God bless you and I'll keep you in my prayers.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    I had mine done on a Friday morning. I was home within 5 or 6 hours. The next day I traveled 40 miles to my son's football game. Walked from the parking lot to the stadium and up in the stands, about 500 yards with no problems. I was not sprinting or walking fast, but I was walking without any real trouble. By Monday I was back at work. I took 1 pain pill, but that was it.

    To be honest, the worst part of everything was the anticipation beforehand. I found the shot they gave me for phlebitis was the most painful part, followed by having the IV put in.

    Good luck!!! You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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