Local woman gets surprise medical bill for more than $700

Woman gets surprise medical bill for more than $700

MATTHEWS, N.C. (WBTV) - WBTV continues investigating surprise medical bills as a woman called for help after going to the emergency room, paying a copay, and still ended up with a big bill.

“I was having an allergic reaction to a new medication and I came to the emergency room for treatment,” Ann Doyle said.

It was April 26 when Doyle went to the ER at Novant Health Matthews Medical Center.

“A month or so later, I got a bill for $760.05 and I didn’t understand why I got it because I had paid the copay and everything else,” Doyle said.

Per her insurance card, Doyle paid a $300 copay.

“They took the $300 copay, they verified my name, birthday, address, and that was it,” Doyle said.

Doyle didn’t understand why she had a $760 bill on top of the $300.

It’s all a huge financial strain.

“I really thought about whether or not I wanted to go to the hospital or not just because of that $300 copay. You don’t usually have that laying around,” Doyle said.

We contacted Novant Health and they responded with a statement:

“Many factors affect a patient’s out-of-pocket costs for a visit or procedure – their insurance plan, deductible, co-pay and annual income if they don’t have insurance coverage. For example, co-pays are one part of the equation, but depending on where a patient stands in meeting their annual deductible, their out-of-pocket costs may vary. While we have financial navigators available to help patients understand their healthcare expenses, including what financial assistance is available to them, we defer your news organization to the patient and the individual’s insurance provider for an understanding of the patient’s coverage and subsequent patient responsibility.”

Next, we called Doyle’s insurance, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina.

That got her an answer almost right away.

“By you calling and making the initial inquiry to BlueCross, that got another person to call me, sit down, and explain everything,” Doyle said.

In this case, the bill wasn’t an error. It just wasn’t clear why Doyle owed the extra money.

“They said because I hadn’t met my deductible that part of the bill went to the deductible so of course you’re responsible for that and then she said the other part was just what I have to pay out of pocket,” Doyle said.

With the charges now explained, Doyle says her trip to the ER is way higher than she expected.

“I definitely will rethink going to the emergency room even more so than I did this time,” Doyle said.

Doyle has enrolled in a $10/month payment plan until her bill is paid off.

BlueCross BlueShield provided us with a statement:

“Blue Cross NC customer service professionals are always happy to help explain benefits to members. In Ms. Doyle’s case, Blue Cross NC’s network discount cut her total hospital bill by more than half. According to her plan, she had a copay and remainder of her deductible. We are grateful for Ms. Doyle’s business and are glad we could help resolve her questions.”

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