When this happens, the standard treatment is to give high doses of steroids through an IV line for 3 consecutive days. Generally it's done either with home health going to the patient's house to do the infusions, or the patient goes to an outpatient infusion center each day for 3 days to have it done there.
So I got Annie on it fast. Miracle worker that she is, she found both a nursing service and an outpatient infusion center that could do this over the weekend, giving me both options. Then she called the patient's insurance to get approval for one or the other.
Guess what? Mike's insurance company didn't have a supervisor available to authorize either one of these on a Friday afternoon. And the underling Annie spoke to (and then I got on the phone to argue with them) told me she wasn't allowed to give approval for this, and there was no one else around who could. So what did she suggest? She told me to admit Mike to the hospital over the weekend to do this, since that didn't require pre-authorization!
So let's think about this:
Home health OR an outpatient infusion suite would cost roughly $200-$400 per day (including nurse time, supplies, and drug) for 3 days.
BUT since Bozo Insurance, Inc. didn't have some magical person around on a Friday (which is a workday last time I checked) or anyone else who could approve this, they told me to admit Mike to the hospital.
I called a friend in hospital accounting. The rate for the basic room Mike is now in is roughly $1800/day. This does NOT include the costs of drug, supplies, or physician fees for docs having to round on him (since we're required to). All together, the hospital stay will cost the insurance $2500-$3000 per day for 3 days.
And Mike is pissed, too. Because he'd rather be at home.
And this is where your insurance premium dollars are going, and how your insurance company is working hard to cut back on costs and save you money.