What sort of medical challenge could make one pay $40,000 from her pocket even though she already have health insurance coverage?
Last January, Molly McKenna was in deep pain when her fiancé rushed her to a Baylor Scott & White clinic in Austin, Texas.
“The doctor came in and said, ‘Your ovary is a big hemorrhaging mess right now. We have to take that out,'” McKenna said.
Medical report had it that one of her ovaries was steadily twisting inside, thereby cutting off the proper flow of blood
“It just got to the point where I could barely breathe,” McKenna to CBSNews.
Almost immediately, she was transferred by ambulance to a larger Baylor Scott & White hospital for medical surgery.
At each stop, the staff took her private insurance card. Yet a
few weeks later, she was told much of her treatment was out-of-network. She
owed more than $40,000.
“I remember crying. I was very upset,” McKenna said.
McKenna is just one of over 600 people CBS News has heard from in their Medical Price Roulette series that highlights the financial gamble consumers face with medical care.
broker Lora Everist, who sold McKenna her insurance policy, said paying cash
would have been cheaper.
“Nobody gave her the option to pay cash or self-pay,” Everist said.
Everist said McKenna’s insurance paid over $6,000 for the surgery. McKenna negotiated a few bills down, but Baylor Scott & White still wants $27,000 more.
“Because there is no guideline. There is no transparency. They can charge whatever they want,” Everist said.
Baylor Scott & White responded, saying its facility charges are lower than other acute care hospitals in the region. But this case shows what they call an “opportunity for improvement,” and they now say they’ll be contacting McKenna to work toward solving her problem.
What should you do in an emergency?
There are quite a number of very important things patients can do anytime they are faced with a medical emergency.
First, find out now which hospital is near you or that probably work hand in hand with your organization or insurance company.
Next, if it’s not a life-threatening emergency, consider a cheaper walk-in or urgent care center.
If you wind up in the emergency room, ask, or have someone with you ask, if the doctors treating you are in your network.
Read full report and video here.
It has become extremely difficult to know exactly what the cost of medical treatment is these days because we now have as much corrupt hospitals as we have corrupt insurance companies.