Stories from You: Bad to the Bone

Zanira Ghulamhussain
Assistant Outreach Coordinator

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Photo of George Takei as Sulu from the television program Star Trek.

George Takei recently shared a story about a shocking medical bill on his Facebook page. For those who don’t know, Takei is best known for his role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek. The story he shared  involves Reddit user, kgfromthemvwhose brother recently fell while rock climbing. Injuries from the fall included a broken back, neck, and ankle. The user’s brother had a one week stay in the hospital and underwent two operations. The final bill would knock just about anyone’s socks off.

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Luckily, the reddit user’s parents’ insurance managed to cover $197,000 of the bill. The other $169,000 was eliminated from the bill because the insurance company refused to pay that portion. The user’s brother will end up paying roughly around $1,500 of the final bill.

The reddit user wrote the bill pictured does not include everything his brother was billed for in his injury. include the ambulance fees, paramedic fees, or fees that individual “specialist” doctors might charge for any treatment they administered.” He says that the ambulance fee is around $5,000 alone, and that his brother might have to pay that. His brother may be in for another expensive surprise: out-of-network surprise medical bills his insurance won’t cover.

It is crazy to think that broken bones can result in such an enormous bill even with good insurance. Until lawmakers enact comprehensive surprise billing protections, out-of-network doctors can bill patients for charges they rightly think will be covered in any emergency. Just as kgfromthemv did on reddit, please share your story to help us illustrate the huge impact of surprise medical bills and sign our petition. With such huge interest from national and local media, and now cultural icons like George Takei, your story may help us tip the balance to get the protections we need to live long and prosper!

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One response to “Stories from You: Bad to the Bone”

  1. Elizabeth Bradley says:

    I had surgery in Sept. 2015. To prepare for surgery, I had lab work drawn at the doctor’s office. I was billed for the full amount of the lab work because the lab used by the doctor’s office was out of network. The doctor was in network. $400. While in the hospital, I had more lab work done after surgery and again we received a bill for $400, because the lab the hospital uses is out of network. The hospital was in network! We called the insurance company and after a lot of hassle was told which lab in our area is in network. In network doctors are listed on their web site, but not labs!

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