CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - She was quoted a price for a surgical procedure, but got a bill for thousands of dollars more months later. A Charlotte woman has spent the past six months trying to get her bill straightened out, but was getting nowhere.
Amy Altieri says she was told her surgery would be just under $5,000. You can imagine her shock when the bill jumped to nearly $8,000. Altieri says no one would listen to her or even look into her case.
Before Altieri had surgery at the Charlotte Surgery Center in June, her medical providers at OrthoCarolina explained her costs.
Altieri says she was given a price of just more than $4,900.
But after the operation, she got a separate bill for the titanium part used in the surgery.
“I thought it was included in the cost of the surgery, but after the fact, I was billed an extra almost $2,500 for the titanium plate that they failed to mention,” said Altieri.
The added expense increased her bill to more than $7,700.
Nobody told her about that extra cost beforehand and OrthoCarolina didn’t have an explanation for the surprise bill afterwards, either.
“I talked to OrthoCarolina and they said they can’t account for every little thing that goes on in a procedure even though this was a required component,” said Altieri.
Altieri said she was able to negotiate the extra $2,500 bill down to $1,800, but she still believes she shouldn’t have to pay anything.
“In most businesses, if someone failed to disclose something like that they would be on the hook for the cost of that item, not the buyer,” she said.
WBTV reached out to Altieri’s insurance, BlueCross BlueShield of NC and OrthoCarolina, who after our calls, agreed to work to resolve any issues but said they couldn’t share any other details because of patient privacy laws.
Finally, when WBTV reached out to IPG, the company that billed for the titanium hardware, they said, in part, “In Ms. Altieri’s particular situation, we were notified after the surgery of the final products that were used in her procedure.”
They also said, “IPG is contractually required to collect all outstanding patient out-of-pocket expenses, with the exception of cases with specific patient financial hardship.”
However, after our calls, Altieri says, IPG will now be refunding the entire $1,800.
“Nobody really seemed to care until you guys stepped up and got involved, so thank you,” said Altieri.
As a reminder, always make sure you ask for an itemized bill before any procedure.