Whether you’re a full-time office worker or a manual laborer with a dangerous job, the average person will break a bone twice in their life. Unfortunately, without an insurance plan, treatment can set you back thousands of dollars.
But exactly how much does a broken bone cost without insurance?
This cost analysis will break down the cost of treatment and hidden fees that could impact the bill. With some insight, you can prepare for future incidents and compare the costs and benefits of investing in health insurance.
The Real Cost Of A Broken Bone Without Insurance
Treatment for a broken bone is complicated and expensive. It’s not as simple as putting a cast on and hoping for the best. It’s this complicated nature of a bone break that makes it such an expensive accident, especially without insurance.
Doctors need to check what type of break it is, usually with x-rays. Then they need to create a treatment plan that works for your unique fracture, which could include blood tests and other lab work. You might also have to undergo surgery to realign the bone or remove bone splinters.
While this is happening, the cost of the visit continues to increase.
Average Costs For Common Breaks
The type of bone that broke has a big impact on the final fee. A broken leg requires more resources and can cost more to fix than a broken nose.
On average, this is what you can expect to pay for a:
- Arm Break Without Insurance: A visit and diagnoses cost on average $2,500 or more. The cost of the cast and its application is between $400 and $600. An x-ray costs up to $1000, depending on the x-ray type. Finally, surgery can set you back over $10,000, not including a hospital stay.
- Leg Break Without Insurance: A broken leg is the most expensive break to treat. On average, the diagnoses, x-rays, cast, and cast application fees are the same as broken arms. However, surgery expenses are significantly higher. Broken leg surgery and realignment range from $15,000 to $40,000.
- Nose Break Without Insurance: A broken nose is the cheapest to treat, but it still costs thousands of dollars. X-rays are cheaper, ranging from $100 to $250. Non-surgical treatment and diagnoses are also usually between $500 and $700. The biggest expense would be a surgical realignment, which averages $8,000 or more.
The price ranges are also determined by the state you go to. The most expensive states for healthcare, like South Dakota and Louisiana, will be in the upper ranges of the above estimates. Sometimes, people have to travel to a cheaper state for more affordable health care.
Other Costs To Consider
The treatment of a broken bone is complicated and the above costs don’t cover all the expenses. You also have to deal with hidden fees. It’s these hidden fees that push bills beyond most people’s means and make health insurance so important.
Other costs to consider without insurance:
- Anesthesia: If the broken bone needs to be realigned, it could require surgery and anesthesia. Anesthesia requires the help of another specialist which can cost up to $2,500. The longer the procedure, the higher the final fee.
- Emergency Room Fees: You also have to pay to have access to medical treatment, especially if you are visiting via an emergency room. Emergency room fees add another $1000 to $2000 to your bill. This could also include a facility fee.
- Overnight Stays: Inpatient care, when you are required to stay overnight, can be expensive. This is usually required if the bone break was severe and required surgical intervention. A day is on average $2,800, with prices rising significantly in more expensive healthcare states.
- Ambulance Costs: If the injury is severe enough, you might need an ambulance ride to the hospital. The average ambulance ride ranges from $500 to $1,200. Factors like mileage and how quickly they need to get you to the ER can affect the price too.
- Physical Therapy: If the bone break was severe and the healing period was long, it could require a visit to a physical therapist. Treatment could be one visit or recurring visits over a few months. Without insurance, a private practice will charge between $150 to $250 for the consultation and $40 to $120 for follow-up visits. Hospital visits charge $400 to $500 for the initial consultation and $300 to $400 for follow-up physical therapy.
Commonly Broken Bones
As mentioned earlier, only a lucky few get to escape bone breaks. The majority of us will experience an average of two breaks in our lives. But if you know which of our 206 bones break more often, you might avoid mistakes that cost you a lot of money.
Here are the most commonly broken bones:
Surprisingly, clavicles, also known as collarbones, are the most frequently broken bone in the body. The collar bone connects the axial and the appendicular skeleton with the scapula and is often the victim when our bodies experience trauma from the front.
Clavicles are the most commonly broken bone among children and people who play contact sports.
Next are wrists. Wrists connect our hands to our forearms via the radius, ulna, and eight smaller carpal bones. Our wrists see a lot of use and are our first line of defense against attacks and falls.
Broken wrists can be especially tricky to treat because of the intricate connections between the bones.
Arms are composed of the humerus, ulna, and radius. Like our wrists, our arms are our defense against falls and attacks and therefore are one of the most commonly broken bones.
Arm twists are also a common cause of breaks, especially in contact sports.
The ankle is one of the most common fractures among older adults. Consisting of the talus, fibula, and tibia, the ankle is surprisingly fragile. The most common form of injury is ankle twists, which also damage ankle ligaments and tendons.
Lastly, the most common bone breaks in adults over 65 are hip breaks. This is usually the combination of brittle bones and falls caused by old age. It’s a very dangerous break. Surgery at such a mature age is always dangerous and the healing period can cause many health complications like infections and gangrene.
Caring For Broken Bones
There are two stages to caring for broken bones: first aid after the break and post-doctor care.
Broken Bone First Aid
If you have broken a bone, follow these steps.
- Stop The Bleeding: First, if the bone has punctured the skin or you’re bleeding from another wound, elevate the bone and apply pressure. Use the cleanest clothing, cloth, or bandages you have near you.
- Steady The Bone: If you have broken a leg or arm, create a quick splint with cloth and straight rods. You can use anything as long as it’s straight and strong enough to keep the bone stable. Use the cloth to bind the broken bone and keep it steady.
For back or neck breaks, don’t move the injured person, and make sure they stay still. Moving them could cause more damage.
- Cool The Wound: Apply cold packs to the wound. If you don’t have a cold pack, wrap ice cubes in a cloth and gently rest it on the broken bone. Keep the ice pack on for 10 minutes, remove it for a few minutes, and repeat.
- Treat The Shock: The pain from a broken bone can cause shock. If you can, cover the person in a blanket or a jacket to keep them warm. If you have water or something sweet, give it to them to soothe their nerves. It’s also important to stay calm in these situations and to keep your tone of voice neutral, soft, and comforting.
- Get Help: If possible, call emergency services while doing the above steps. If you can’t, make sure they’re not in immediate danger before calling for help. If the bone break is extremely bad or the person is unconscious, call emergency services immediately.
Post Doctor Care
After your doctor’s visit, follow these steps to ensure your bone heals well.
- Immobilize The Bone: It’s important not to move the bone while it heals. Immobilize the broken bone and don’t push yourself until your doctor removes the cast.
- Rest & Eat Well: A nutritious diet and lots of water will help your body through the healing process. Getting ample rest will also improve your health and quicken your healing.
- Follow Doctor’s Orders: Lastly, listen to your doctor. They know your situation intimately and will provide you with care instructions made specifically for your injury. Follow them to a T and you’ll see great results.
How To Know If You Have A Broken Bone
Sometimes, a broken bone isn’t as obvious as it is in movies. If you experience these symptoms, you have likely broken a bone and you should seek professional help immediately.
- Severe pain, especially when you move the bone.
- Numbness around the wound.
- A protruding bone and bleeding.
- Swelling and discoloration around the wound.
Fixing a broken bone without insurance is expensive. Fixing a severe break that requires surgery could put you in lifelong debt. Because bone breaks are a certainty for the vast majority of us, it’s important to consider a plan of action for such accidents.
The best way to do this is by getting health insurance. If you’re worried about the cost of health insurance, we can help you find low to no-income health insurance options that provide comprehensive coverage.
Contact Enhance Health today for a consultation with our insurance specialists. We’ll guide you to insurance that’ll protect you from financial emergencies like broken bones without sacrificing your healthcare quality.