Boston victims face staggering medical costs

One early estimate puts the price for mending the people hurt in the marathon attack at more than $9 million.

By Aimee Picchi Apr 22, 2013 12:33PM

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013 (© Charles Krupa/AP Photo)As survivors of last week's horrific Boston Marathon bombings continue to recover, now comes the financial accounting of their injuries, and it isn't pretty. 


While the ultimate cost won't be known for some time, a rough calculation made by NBC News pegs the price tag at $9 million. For victims who lost limbs, their health care expenditures may be particularly high, given the cost of prosthetics and rehabilitation.


"It’s probably on the magnitude of $40,000, $50,000 (per person for emergency-room care). But for the people who will be hospitalized for weeks, you could easily be looking at $150,000 to $200,000 per person," health economist Ted Miller told NBC News. 


Fundraising sites have popped up to help the victims pay for their medical costs, even for those with health coverage, such as Jeff Bauman. 


Bauman was featured in an iconic -- and graphic -- image, when he was whisked away from the attack in a wheelchair by first responders, his lower legs shattered by one of the bombs. While he has health insurance through his employer, Costco (COST), the out-of-pocket costs for his treatment will still require lots of cash, according to ThinkProgress.org. (Costco is also matching donations made by other employees, The Boston Globe notes.)


His fundraising site had raised more than $575,000 as of Monday morning, with a goal of reaching $1 million. Bauman, 27, who ended up losing both his legs below the knee in the attack, identified one of the bombers from his hospital bed, according to Bloomberg.


The crowd-funding efforts are helping raise money for other victims, including Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, a mother and daughter who were injured in the attack. Celeste, 47, lost both her legs below the knee, while her daughter, 18, suffered from near-fatal shrapnel wounds, according to the New York Daily News. Their fund had raised more than $544,000 as of Monday morning. 


Both the Corcorans' and Bauman's sites are run through GoFundMe, which deducts 5% from the donations as payment. The crowd-funding site says it has raised more than $1.5 million for victims of the Boston attacks as of Monday. 


Even as genuine do-gooders are raising money for the victims, reports are surfacing of scammers who are creating phony charity websites for victims. The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning about the fraudulent schemes, asking taxpayers to donate only to qualified charities.

Lost in all the coverage of the Boston Marathon tragedy was another horrific event from last week: the explosion in West, Texas, of a fertilizer facility. It killed at least 14 people and left as many as 200 homes cordoned off. 


But while charity organizations such as the American Red Cross are taking donations for that disaster as well, it hasn't received the same level of response. One GoFundMe effort for the explosion, for example, has raised just $175 so far, out of a $15,000 goal.


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.


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258Comments
Apr 22, 2013 3:42PM
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.......heres a novel idea .... how about the medical community, the drug community, and the insurance community... donate their time and skills and do it all, for the victims ... FOR FREE ?
Apr 22, 2013 3:50PM
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This is where the U.S. Government needs to step up to the plate and PAY their medical bills. If any negotiating goes on.... it needs to be with (by and between) the government and healthcare providers and/or drug and prosthetic suppliers. These unfortunate people should NOT have to pay one dime for out of pocket expenses. If we can send container loads of money overseas, we CAN help our very own law abiding citizens.
Apr 22, 2013 3:03PM
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Here is another chance to review the huge medical costs born by our citizens. We are the only industrialized country left in the world where and illness or injury can make a charity case out of you.The Boston bomb victims are not alone in this.
Apr 22, 2013 2:46PM
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As horiffic as that was why is there so little mention of the Texas explosion that killed more people and wounder more? Are their lives not so important?
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Average $50,000 bill highest bill maybe $250,000 ???

 

Hmmm CEO's of companies making like $125,000,000 a year / 2,000 hours = $62,500 an hour

 

so these staggering medical costs are only at most 4 hours of a typical CEO's earnings.

 

Just goes to show you why America is going down hill the CEO's are stealing all the money.

Well them and the Wall Street bankers.

I bet none of them are going to come forward and help pay the bills. And the super rich?? Probably just 30 minutes of earning money to them if that much time.

Apr 22, 2013 3:18PM
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Medical care cost is out of control.  I have private insurance and when I had to have surgery in Germany it cost approximately $3,000.00 for everything which also included four day stay in the hospital.  At this cost the insurance kept asking why I had to stay in the hospital for so long; well, let me see...  I had tubes sticking out of my body.  The care I received was great. 

After I came back to the U.S. I had surgery for another issue and it cost over $30,000.00. The same insurance company only allowed a one day stay in the hospital. 

In my opinion the so called Obamacare will become just another tax.  So years down the road, after fully implemented, it will more than likely become another government program that taxpayers will be funding.

 

Apr 22, 2013 3:17PM
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celebrities will be doing a show asking the general public to donate money to help these people out instead of just donating the money to cover their medical costs....  Any of the super rich would be advised in considering just donating money to these families in a medical trust fund which their investment company manages like boone pickens or warren buffet.  Not only would it be great publicity it would be a tax write off, let them earn income by investing the money for the trust fund, it would actually go to helping people who need it, and I guess at the end of the list it would be good karma.  
Apr 22, 2013 3:56PM
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I HAVE SAID THIS FOR A LONG TIME... WHY IS A COPS LIFE WORTH MORE THAN SOMEONE KILLED IN A HIT AND RUN... WHY ARE THE BOMBING VICTIMS MORE NEW NEWS WORTHY THAN THE TEXAS VICTIMS OR HOMELESS PEOPLE THAT DIE ON THE STREETS... WE SHOULD BE HELPING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE... AND WHY DO WE GIVE MORE ATTENTION TO SPORTS THAN ANY OF THESE VICTIMS... SAD... 
Apr 22, 2013 4:02PM
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How about the hospital absorbing the costs for once in their fkg life as a gesture? Oh horrors! That's fkg unthinkable! Meanwhile illegals bankrupt hospitals (see California) but that's ok.

And who's paying for the darling Chechen bombing "suspect"'s treatment?

Apr 22, 2013 3:58PM
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Obamacare or no Obamacare, that is not the point here. The point is that even WITH medical insurance the costs for the care of anyone in this country and now graphically illustrated by these victims are outrageous. In no other Western nation is this the case for necessary healthcare. Elective surgery is different, that's why it is called elective, so pay for it if you want it. But when in a so-called civilized nation accidents bankrupt people means that the soubriquet healthcare should be changed to healthprofit. Or could it be another form of social darwinism?
Apr 22, 2013 2:40PM
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"nothing to fear Obama care is here"...really, and how would this be any different with out "Obama care"? Health care is still a for-profit business and , evidently, will continue as one.
Apr 22, 2013 4:13PM
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The entire health system is rotten from the bottom up. It is probably the biggest racket going.  

Apr 22, 2013 3:51PM
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I am not sure I am understanding all of this. I am well versed in the Insurance industry and billing for medical services. If someone has insurance, they are usually covered. There may be a 10% co-insurance for some services but usually there is a cap, where the maximum out of pocket will be say $3000.00, then coverage is at 100%...If someone can shed some light because I am not understanding why $500,000.00-$1,000.000.00 donation is required for people. I love to donate and support people however I do not want to be taken for a ride where the amount they are asking for is way out of line with the actual costs. Yes, someone had a good point too. We should help the people of Texas as well..
Apr 22, 2013 4:17PM
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obamas trip there cost 10 to 20 million should of just sent the money
Apr 22, 2013 3:52PM
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Where are the good, loving "share your wealth" people now?
Apr 22, 2013 3:55PM
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If ever there was a week in history that called for universal health care , it was last week!
Apr 22, 2013 1:48PM
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Does this become a windfall for the local/regional healthcare providers and a financial setback to insurance providers, including medicare?
Apr 22, 2013 4:28PM
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I find it appalling that any of these poor people should have to pay for ANY of their medical expenses.  Our government - In particular, The Department of Homeland Security, should be paying.  They FAILED miserably at keeping the marathon attendees safe.  They dropped the ball, and allowed a pair of young extremists to bring a major US city to its knees.

 

Pathetic! 

 

Apr 22, 2013 3:55PM
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Don't worry, even though Pelosi and the rest of the Congress hasn't read the Obamacare Bill, I am confident that Obamacare will cover the costs for all victims...NOT!
Apr 22, 2013 4:10PM
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The government has bailed out all the greedy banks, auto makers, S&L's etc, etc. These people were injured because in the bomber's mind they stood for America. Why doesn't the government help them out? Why is it always greedy businesses who get bailed out. These people lost limbs, they won't be able to work for a long time. They need prosthetic, rehab etc. It's so backward.
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