December 11, 2018

The "Home Alone Burglars" Would Have Been High Cost Claimants

When you rewatch the classic holiday movie “Home Alone” as an adult, it’s hard to understand why those burglars were so persistent. Sure, little Kevin and his house made a great target, but one might think after the first BB-gun shot to the face, you’d find an easier target (and seek care at an emergency room).

But the Wet Bandits, as they were nicknamed in the movie, kept coming back for more pain and punishment, and a gleeful eight-year-old kept dishing it out. A number of fun articles have explored the nature and totality of their injuries, but we wondered just exactly what their ailments would have cost the Wet Bandit Inc. employee benefits plan.

So we fired up Artemis and took a look at the employer-paid costs associated with Home Alone injuries. Read on.

We calculated the costs of concussions, herniated disks, a laceration on the head, and bruised tailbones, as the burglars took more than one serious tumbles down the stairs. These conditions totaled employer paid costs of nearly $35,000, $12,000, $25,000, and $7600 respectively. And they can be quite serious, as anyone with lasting low back pain will tell you. A herniated disk could lead to a longer period of physical therapy in order to fully recover.

Additionally, one of Kevin’s first moves is to shoot the burglars with a BB-gun. He nails Joe Pesci’s character in the groin, and while we couldn’t find any claims for this condition in our sample data, if the BB breaks the skin, you’re looking at an ER visit for sure.

Next up, the “iron to the face” scene. Kevin cleverly rigs a hot iron to fall down the laundry chute straight into the face of one of the intruders. For this scene, we calculated a broken nose and fractures around the eyes as well. For medical plus prescription costs, we’re looking at nearly $50,000 for these two conditions combined. Not to mention, later in the film the same burglar takes a paint can to the face. So if the iron didn’t cause this damage, the can certainly would have.

While the movie showed a burn to the face from the iron as well, we decided to look at a different burn scene instead.

It’s difficult to forget the image of one of the burglars grabbing a red-hot doorknob and branding the letter “M” for McCallister into his hand. The hand is smoking, and while not entirely realistic, this suggests at least a 2nd degree burn. For this condition, our data showed just over $12,000 in employer paid costs.

Next up, Daniel Stern’s character steps directly on an upturned, rusty nail, which penetrates the skin and goes deep into the bottom of his foot. Ouch. Later he also encounters crushed glass Christmas ornaments. So we can safely assume there’s damage to the muscles and tendons in his foot, which racked up a $19,365 bill in our sample data. We couldn’t find any claims in the data for a tetanus vaccine, which he would have needed following the incident, but these generally run anywhere from $25 to $60.

And this brings us to the tarantula scene.

Kevin lets his pet tarantula loose, and it ends up crawling on the chest of one of the intruders. His buddy, in an attempt to kill the spider, hits him squarely in the chest and ribs with a crowbar. He’s looking at a minimum of fractured ribs, possible crushing or internal injuries, internal bleeding, and potentially even a collapsed lung. These were our most expensive claims, with a crushing/internal injury costing $73,394 and fractured ribs racking up $67,493 in medical/Rx claims.

While this analysis was conducted with sample data and fair number of assumptions about the types of injuries suffered, we can come to a few conclusions:

  1. The Wet Bandits would have been incapacitated far earlier in the film, possibly saving their employer plan hundreds of thousands in medical costs.
  2. You should seek medical care immediately if you’re injured in the course of a burglary. Don’t stick around in case the homeowner has other plans up his/her sleeve.
  3. Stay up to date on your tetanus shot.
  4. Tarantulas are mostly harmless, so there’s no need to hit them with crowbars.
  5. Never leave your 8 year-old home alone on Christmas Eve.
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