A couple from Massachusetts were shocked to receive a medical bill of nearly $ 4,000 after their son was born.
Laura and Adam Parkinson welcomed their healthy, happy son, Nathan, last year.
They had carefully selected a hospital and midwife who were covered by their insurance prior to Laura’s due date.
So they were confused when the eye-catching bill arrived by mail, the CBS reported.
Like many patients in the US, Laura was inadvertently treated by an anesthesiologist who was outside of her and Adam’s insurance network – and they were expected to pay a high price for the short time they spent with the doctor.
Adam (left) and Laura (right) Parkinson received a bill of $ 3,700 after the birth of their son, Nathan (bottom right) because the anesthesiologist who gave Laura an epidural had no network
The average American spends nearly $ 5,000 a year on health care, and emergency procedures cost on average $ 12,000 before insurance.
A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that about 70 percent of Americans who had a surprise bill had no idea that a doctor was going outside their network.
And the most common provider who has no network is the anesthetist.
It is a common phenomenon and it costs countless people their savings and forces some to a second (or third) job or mortgage.
Even the most informed families, such as the Parkinsons, can fall into the trap.
‘You go to a hospital and you expect it to be in the network. You don’t have to ask a question to every person who walks through the door, “wait a minute, are you on the network?”, Adam said to CBS News.
When Laura gave birth to Nathan, she received an epidural injection to relieve the pain of childbirth.
The Parkinsons were shocked when they owed $ 3,700 because the anesthesiologist who administered Laura’s epidural was out of their insurance network
Only 21 American states (orange) have a number of legal consumer protection against surprise accounts and only six have ‘expanded’ (dark orange) according to the Commonwealth Fund
It is a simple procedure that takes little time. The spot on Laura’s back where the needle would enter was anesthetized, the needle inserted, and then a catheter tube was slid into place.
But it does require a midwife, anaesthesiologist or anaesthesiologist.
The entire process takes no longer than 15 minutes, maybe less.
And yet the time of that one person was so precious, it was reportedly worth $ 3,700.
“For a doctor we saw for five minutes to give us such a bill. It was crazy, “Adam said.
Only many months after Nathan’s birth (photo) could Adam and Laura drop the exorbitant charges of their hospital bill
The Parkinsons were stunned and frustrated and called their insurance company, which agreed to cover half of the bill of $ 3,700 received.
That still left the family with $ 1500 in medical debts, in addition to the many costs of having a new baby.
So Laura and Adam went to their local government. In particular, they called the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey office.
They learned from her office that Massachusetts is one of the 21 states that offers at least some protection to prevent patients from paying alarming, surprising bills.
According to the Commonwealth Fund, only six of them have laws that meet the standards to be “all-inclusive.” Massachusetts is not included.
The law means that companies – including hospitals – cannot hide consumers, “Healey told CBS.
“You must be transparent, you must make disclosures.”
After a fight of eight months, the hospital agreed to waive the bill.
But Laura told CBS that she had learned an important lesson: “It’s fine to doubt the bills that come in,” she said.