The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dan: 4 years leg-free but not for free


Dan modeling a Gel sock, which holds the stump
and the prosthesis together.

I will never
forget the kindness of Plainfield Today readers when I had to have my left leg amputated below the knee -- which was exactly four years ago.

My recovery and rehab went well and I was home, walking on my new "leg" in about three months. Not bad for healing from the surgery, waiting for the swelling to go down so I could be fitted, and learning to walk again.

As Dottie Gutenkauf used to say -- "Thank God for Medicare!" -- which made it all possible.

However, we might tend to forget what Medicare actually pays for goods and services.

I recently had to visit the wonderful folks at JFK Johnson Rehab for some freshening of supplies that keep me on my new leg.

It was quite a surprise when the statement came from Medicare detailing the costs (20% of the total) that I would have to pay for the latest haul.

Here are the total figures billed to Medicare (of which my share is 20%) --


  • 2 Gel socks - $2,038.00 ($1,019 each)
    • This is a silicone "sock" with an elastic shell that compresses the stump and attaches to the prosthesis, holding it in place
  • 6 Prosthetic socks - $174.00 ($29 each)
    • These are thick woolen socks worn between the outer shell and the Gel sock to cushion and stabilize the prosthesis
  • 2 Prosthetic shrinkers - $140.00 ($70 each)
    • This is a Supphose-like stocking to cover the stump at night while sleeping to prevent it from swelling
You probably wouldn't be willing to pay more than $10-$15 each for the woolen sock or the "shrinker" -- but look at what the manufacturers charge and what Medicare pays.

Shouldn't somebody be trying to get that under control?

Maybe our next President...


  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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