Snake Bites Can Chomp Your Wallet

Just when you thought you couldn’t bear any more pain from the recent snake bite out behind the cabin, wait until you get the hospital bill.

You don't want to suffer a bite from this guy!

Camps and outdoor recreation groups encounter snakes on a regular basis, and as statistics show, have their fair share of bites.

Recent news reports continue to expose the expensive reality of the rising cost of snake antivenom. Want to take a guess at the average cost of treatment for treating a snake bite?

Check out these reports from around the country, brought to you by Rick Braschler, director of risk management/senior risk consultant for Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, Mo.:

Texas: One vial of anti-venom costs $5,000 — snake bite patient Macy needed seven.  The antivenom, together with emergency room costs, totaled a whopping $41,000.

Missouri: One of our staff guys was bitten by a copperhead, and went in for an outpatient visit.  The anti-venom costs $6,000 per vial, with the total cost over $25,000.

North Carolina: After a Raleigh resident was bitten on his ring finger by a copperhead, he left the hospital with a $60,000 bill.  “That might have been the scariest part of the whole thing, to be honest,” he said.

While personal health insurance typically picks up the cost of this medical care, there may still be deductibles or co-insurance to deal with.

Likewise, workers’ compensation policies may or may not approve the treatment of snake bites in your state, perhaps leaving an unpaid claim.

Regardless of the funding method, measures should be taken to reduce the likelihood of getting bitten in the first place. While it is common to encounter snakes in their natural setting, camps can minimize exposure to staff and campers by taking the following steps:

1)  Remove debris, rotted railroad ties and logs, stacks of lumber, brush piles, etc.,  from around the cabins and activity areas where snakes would take up residence.

2)  Reduce low ground lighting that attracts insects which, in turn, attracts snakes.

3)  Train staff and campers on how to identify poisonous snakes.

4)  Adopt a policy that staff and campers are not to approach and catch snakes that are poisonous.

5)  Have an effective rodent control program.

6)  Seal all holes in cabins and facilities.

7)  Consider using snake traps if your area has continual snake issues.