A hard pill to swallow: Your outrageous surprise medical bills get media attention

Daniela Nuñez
Social Media Program Manager

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

What do you do when you get a surprise medical bill in the mail? What if that bill is a jaw-dropping $22,000? KVUE News in Austin, TX recently investigated surprise medical bills and interviewed us to talk about this national trend. The story centered around Austin-area woman, Dianne Prior, who got into a bike accident and underwent surgery for a broken ankle. Before her surgery, Dianne said hospital staff told her its facility was in her insurance network. A few weeks later though, she got the bills in the mail. For nearly a year she pleaded with the hospital and her insurer to double-check the charges. She paid monthly toward the balance, but the hospital still sent her to a collection agency. “I almost passed out. That’s a lot of money,” said Prior. Luckily, after KVUE’s investigation, the hospital zeroed out Dianne’s entire balance. While that’s fantastic news, it shouldn’t take a media investigation for someone to get freed from surprise medical bills.

KVUE’s follow up story featured Lisa Beach from Buda, TX, an EndSurpriseMedical Bills.org story sharer, who received over $1,000 in surprise medical bills for equipment used in her surgery that was not covered by her insurance. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Whopping surprise medical bills like Dianne’s and Lisa’s, and the financial hardship they cause, are the reason we’re working to enact surprise medical bill protections. Sign our national petition and share your story so we can highlight more of your stories in the press. If you live in Texas, here is how you can file a complaint about a surprise medical bill with the Texas Department of Insurance.

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