N.C. man gets big bill after going to the doctor for a dog bite

Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 6:07 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A local man called WBTV for help after getting a big bill after going to the doctor for a dog bite.

Gareth Hoffmann says he had just gotten home in November when his two dogs were playing, and one nipped his hand. It was not a big deal, but he wanted a doctor to take a look.

“There’s this little tiny scar right here,” Hoffmann points out.

Hoffmann went to the ER at Atrium Health Stanly after one of his dogs nipped him on the hand the day before Thanksgiving. He couldn’t go to an urgent care, because it was closed.

“They had me wash my hands and they gave me the tetanus shot. They gave me one antibiotic pill. There may have been a doctor who came in for maybe 3 minutes.”

He was at the hospital for about an hour including the time he spent in the waiting room.

Hoffmann says he showed his UnitedHealthcare insurance card, and it was accepted.

Then in December 2020, Atrium Health hit him with a bill for $2,659.05.

United paid $1,108.59, leaving him with $1,550.46.

On top of that, Western Carolina Emergency Physicians sent Hoffman a bill in December for an additional “evaluation and management” for $645.00.

His insurance covered $434.02, leaving him to pay $210.08.

He paid that amount but doesn’t understand how a quick trip to the ER for a minor dog bite cost him $1,760.54.

“I feel it is an excessive bill.”

Atrium Health didn’t respond, but Western Carolina said the physician group submitted a claim to Hoffmann’s insurance as required, but he hadn’t met his deductible yet.

UnitedHealthcare said the same thing – pointing to Hoffman’s deductible and saying his treatment was billed appropriately.

“I don’t like to feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I don’t like to think that other people are being taken advantage of.”

Hoffmann reached out to Atrium and they told him he could pay $100 per month until the bill was paid. After relaying that he saw a WBTV story about a similar experience, they said he could do a $25 a month payment plan.

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