Health insurance

Woman with Medicare Receives $ 550,000 Bill After Childbirth

A Florida woman was left with a hospital bill of more than half a million dollars after giving birth, despite having health insurance. She changed health insurance plans while her newborn was in intensive care, and says that caused a lot of billing confusion.

Her son Dorian is now a healthy 1 year old, but when he was born prematurely in November 2020 and rushed to the NICU, first-time mum Bisi Bennett was terrified of his health.

“I didn’t even know if he was born alive and if he was stillborn,” Bennett told “CBS Mornings” co-host Tony Dokoupil. “So I’m crying and I’m very upset that I don’t know he’s going to be okay then.”

Dorian was hospitalized for about two months before he was healthy enough to return home. Then Bennett got the hospital bill – for over $ 550,000.

“I was very upset when I saw the half a million dollar bill because I felt like I had done everything in my power to prevent them from sending me this. huge bill, ”she said.

She had chosen a networked hospital for her United Healthcare insurance. But in January 2021, while her son was still at the NICU, his employer changed his health plan to UMR.

Instead of billing United Healthcare for 2020 and UMR for 2021, the hospital billed both policies for the two years. When neither of them covered the bill due to the administrative error, Bennett was billed over $ 550,000.

“I called the hospital a couple of times just to let them know, ‘Hey you guys got the bill together, you got to split it.'”

Despite his calls, the same bill was sent again, with a payment plan of almost $ 46,000 per month.

“Which is ridiculous. I don’t have $ 46,000 to pay a month,” Bennett said.

“I was afraid of ending up in the collections,” she said. “I hope that by doing this story they will really think of health care from a holistic perspective. Health is not just when you are in the hospital … It has to do with being too. way you treat someone after they’re ‘I’m out of the hospital.’

Advent Health Orlando Hospital revised the bill after being contacted by Kaiser Health News in October. Bennett’s bill was then updated to $ 300 in total.

In a statement, United Healthcare said it did not receive the 2020 part of the hospital bill until this fall, and has since paid it.

“We apologize for the frustration this has caused,” the hospital said in a statement. “For future patients like Ms. Bennett, who may experience a change in insurance during their treatment, this case allowed us to identify opportunities within our system to improve the billing and communication process.”

Kaiser Health News Editor-in-Chief Dr Elisabeth Rosenthal said: “The problem here is that when there is a problem or a disagreement between providers, the patient ends up with the bag.”

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