Woman says she was billed thousands for a drug that should have been free

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT
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MT. ULLA, N.C. (WBTV) - A woman had more than $10,000 of medical bills wiped out thanks to a WBTV investigation.

Gina Bond has multiple sclerosis. She gets special medicine a few times a year and, usually, it’s supposed to be free. But then she started getting a bill from Lake Norman Regional Medical Center for thousands of dollars – with nobody willing to tell her why.

“It stresses me a lot. Stress is a huge thing you have to avoid, the number one thing you have to avoid when you’re diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” said Bond.

Bond’s biggest stress has come in the form of bills - lots of bills - for thousands of dollars dating back to Nov. 2019 from Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Bond needs six infusions of the drug Rituximab for her MS. Each treatment costs a staggering $45,000, but she has a letter from the manufacturer showing she would get the drug free of charge.

Bond had been receiving the treatments since 2018 with no previous bills. That all changed in November when Lake Norman Medical Center began charging her $0.01 for each treatment which apparently caused bond’s insurance to pay whatever amount Medicare allows, leaving Bond to pick up the remaining 20 percent deductible.

Bond says no one explained this to her until she was hit with $11,000 in bills by the medical center.

“Essentially, I’m paying for a medicine I’m supposed to get for free, and in addition, the hospital is getting money for a medicine that didn’t cost them anything,” Bond said.

Bond couldn’t pay the bill and couldn’t get an explanation as to why she owed money from the hospital. Then she was sent to collections.

“If I ask six times I get six different answers, mostly they don’t know, but this keeps happening,” Bond said.

WBTV Investigates and Bond - for two days - called Lake Norman Regional Medical Center searching for anyone to provide an explanation. After more than a dozen calls, 24-hours later, one hospital staffer said they couldn’t discuss Bond’s bill because of patient privacy concerns.

A second person in the billing department said they thought the bill might have been an error.

Then Tina Music, the Chief Quality Officer, said the proper billing person was investigating and would get back to Bond very soon.

On Wednesday morning, days after WBTV began asking for answers, Bond got a call from the hospital saying the charges had been eliminated from her account.

“You got done in a couple of days what I couldn’t get done in about seven months. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to get these results this quickly. I couldn’t have done it without you,” Bond told WBTV.

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