Flu Season 2018… Yikes!
The problem with any cold and flu season is our inability to hide from the world until it’s over. Even if you received a flu shot recently, you are still susceptible to the strain this year. This is the 1st time in over 15 years where the flu is widely active in all 50 states within the U.S. There is no escaping the cold and flu season.
Right now, roughly 9% or 3,571 of all U.S. deaths are related to the cold and flu season as reported as of January 30th, 2018. The more horrifying statistic is of the 3,500 cases, 4% are related to pediatrics. Deaths reported from the flu are usually as a result of complications due to pneumonia. This year’s flu starts with respiratory symptoms, so the virus is well underway before most are aware it is the flu.
Finally Coming to an End
Here is some good news. Fortunately, it is almost over! About 6 weeks left, season usually ends in late March.
Subsequently, my family, including our 9 month old, has decided to hibernate for the winter cold and flu season. We will re-enter society when the ground hog tells us spring is coming. We are protesting “Winter is Coming” for another 6 weeks. However, for most people this is not even remotely a possibility.
As the season comes to an end, there is another looming concern. How much will it cost you?
For those, not living off the grid like Mountain Men, it is a big question. First, medical bills take almost 30 days to process through health insurance. Therefore, you are probably still receiving bills related to your illness. Below are the average costs if you are paying yourself. The good news is health insurance will pay for a percentage, unless your deductible has not been met. The deductible is the amount you are required to pay before health insurance will pay for any medical costs. The only exception is preventative services, basically the FLU SHOT. The deductible has to be paid each year, always starts over in January. Don’t forget to budget for these costs!
Approximate Flu Medical Costs
|Medical Expense||1-18||18-64||65+||Covered by Insurance|
|Flu Shot||$31||$40||$60||Yes – 100%|
|Flu Test||$20||$20||$20||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
|Sick Visit to the Doctor||$118||$95||$150||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
|Urgent Care Visit||$75||$120||$200||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
|Emergency Room Visit||$300||$150||$400||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
|Hospital Admission with Flu||$4,000||$3,251||$5,000||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
|Hospital Admission with Pneumonia||$13,000||$10,000||$20,000+||Yes – % depends on Coverage|
If you have a deductible, you will be paying out of pocket in January and February for the above costs.
Ambulance fees are not included in the chart as the costs vary greatly. Ambulance companies charge per mile and are required to transport patients to the closest hospital. As long as the ambulance is for an emergency, the costs are covered by insurance.
Also, Emergency Room visits are ranked 1-5. Levels 1-2 are for services that can be seen in the physician office or urgent care, lower severity. Level 3-5 are more serious, the costs above are depictive of these more complex cases. If you are admitted to the hospital, it is considered a serious illness.
Hospital costs include multiple bills – at least 1 for the hospital, radiology/pathology testing, physician(s) seen during your stay, plus any other providers. Medical Bills will come from lots of different sources, make sure to check your bills for accuracy. If you are not sure how, please check out our quick and easy to follow resource guide.
There is more good news!
- This season has not been as bad as the 2009 H1N1 cold and flu outbreak
- Next year’s vaccine will be far more effective!
In conclusion, if you are lucky, your family only had a few sick visits, keeping expenses low. There is no absolute cure for the cold and flu, but we can at least prepare for the costs each year.
If you are worried about healthcare expenses, watch for our next posting on deductible season. This is usually the most expensive for families. However, there is a way to decrease the financial impact.
Statistics above are referenced from the CDC and NCBI’s websites. Please email for further details.