Category: Bill Of The Month

  • Journalists Delve Into Vaccine Mandates and Surprise Billing

    California Healthline correspondent Rachel Bluth discussed California’s doomed covid-19 vaccine mandates on iHeartPodcasts “The Daily Dive” on June 7. Click here to hear Bluth on “The Daily Dive” Read Bluth’s “Politics and Pandemic Fatigue Doom California’s Covid Vaccine Mandates”  KHN contributing writer Michelle Andrews discussed her recent “Bill of the Month” feature about a surprise […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. In the wake of three high-profile mass shootings in less than a month, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have renewed negotiations over legislation that could stem gun violence. […]

  • Her First Colonoscopy Cost Her $0. Her Second Cost $2,185. Why?

    Elizabeth Melville and her husband are gradually hiking all 48 mountain peaks that top 4,000 feet in New Hampshire. “I want to do everything I can to stay healthy so that I can be skiing and hiking into my 80s — hopefully even 90s!” said the 59-year-old part-time ski instructor who lives in the vacation […]

  • Even When IVF Is Covered by Insurance, High Bills and Hassles Abound

    After years of trying to have a baby without success, Brenna Kaminski and her husband, Joshua Pritt, decided to try in vitro fertilization. Only 15 states require insurance to cover fertility treatments, and Florida, where Kaminski and Pritt live, isn’t one of them. Still, the couple’s insurance, from Pritt’s job at an energy company, did […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Funding for the Next Pandemic

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. President Joe Biden released his budget proposal for 2023 this week, and it calls for a nearly 27% increase in funding for the Department of Health and […]

  • The Case of the $489,000 Air Ambulance Ride

    Sean Deines and his wife, Rebekah, were road-tripping after he lost his job as a bartender when the pandemic hit. But while visiting his grandfather in a remote part of Wyoming, Sean started to feel very ill. Rebekah insisted he go to an urgent care center in Laramie. “‘Your white blood count is through the […]

  • An $80,000 Tab for Newborns Lays Out a Loophole in the New Law to Curb Surprise Bills

    When Greg and Sugar Bull were ready to start a family, health challenges necessitated that they work with a gestational surrogate. The woman who carried and gave birth to their twins lived two states away. The pregnancy went well until the surrogate experienced high blood pressure and other symptoms of preeclampsia, which could have harmed […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Paging the HHS Secretary

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is becoming a target for both Democrats and Republicans over what they call a lack of coordination of covid efforts […]

  • Watch: ER Charged $1,012 for Almost No Care

    “CBS Mornings” host Tony Dokoupil interviewed KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal about January’s Bill of the Month installment, a collaboration with NPR. The Bhatt family of St. Peters, Missouri, was charged $1,012 for an emergency room visit for son Martand. The toddler had burned his hand on a stove days before, and, after it started blistering, […]

  • The Doctor Didn’t Show Up, but the Hospital ER Still Charged $1,012

    Dhaval Bhatt had been warned about hospital emergency rooms. “People always told me to avoid the ER in America unless you are really dying,” said Bhatt, an immigrant from India who got a Ph.D. in pharmacology in the U.S. and is now a research scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. But when Bhatt’s 2-year-old […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Contagion Confusion

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The covid-19 pandemic is now entering its third year, and the ever-evolving health advice to combat an ever-evolving virus is leaving Americans more cranky and confused than […]

  • ‘Then the Bill Came’: Year 4 of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month Is a Wrap

    In 2021, more than 880 of you submitted ideas for KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month investigative series, trusting us with two of the most personal topics in life: your health and your money. We are deeply grateful. Our trove of bills and stories — building steadily to nearly 5,000 since February 2018 — tells us […]

  • NICU Bill Installment Plan: That’ll Be $45,843 a Month for 12 Months, Please

    Close to midnight on Nov. 12, 2020, Bisi Bennett was sitting on the couch in her pajamas and feeling uncomfortable. She was about seven months pregnant with her first child, Dorian, and the thought that she could be in labor didn’t even cross her mind. Then, she felt a contraction so strong it knocked her […]

  • Hormone Blocker Sticker Shock — Again — As Patients Lose Cheaper Drug Option

    Sudeep Taksali thought he’d won his battle to avoid a steep price tag on a medicine for his daughter. He was wrong. In 2020, he’d fought to get insurance to cover a lower-priced version of a drug his then-8-year-old needed. She’d been diagnosed with central precocious puberty, a rare condition marked by early onset of […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Democrats on Capitol Hill hope they are nearing the finish line in their months-long quest to enact President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda. After briefly dropping from […]

  • How Billing Turns a Routine Birth Into a High-Cost Emergency

    Caitlin Wells Salerno knew that some mammals — like the golden-mantled ground squirrels she studies in the Rocky Mountains — invest an insane amount of resources in their young. That didn’t prepare her for the resources the conservation biologist would owe after the birth of her second son. Wells Salerno went into labor on the […]

  • ¿Un test de covid más caro que un Tesla? En Texas es posible

    Cuando covid-19 golpeó el año pasado, la compañía de Travis Warner se puso más ocupada que nunca. Instala sistemas de video e Internet, y con la gente repentinamente trabajando desde casa, las llamadas solicitando servicios aumentaron. Warner y sus empleados tomaron precauciones como usar máscaras y distanciarse físicamente, pero ir a las casas de los […]

  • A Covid Test Costing More Than a Tesla? It Happened in Texas.

    When covid-19 struck last year, Travis Warner’s company became busier than ever. He installs internet and video systems, and with people suddenly working from home, service calls surged. He and his employees took precautions like wearing masks and physically distancing, but visiting clients’ homes daily meant a high risk of covid exposure. “It was just […]

  • Watch: Same Providers, Similar Surgeries, But Different Bills

    Ely Bair had similar surgeries, at the same hospital, with the same insurer. But he received very different big medical bills. KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal joins “CBS This Morning” to break down how this could happen to you and what you can do to avoid it.  KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that […]

  • Jaw Surgery Takes a $27,119 Bite out of One Man’s Budget

    For years, Ely Bair dealt with migraine headaches, jaw pain and high blood pressure, until a dentist recommended surgery to realign his jaw to get to the root of his health problems. The fix would involve two surgeries over a couple of years and wearing braces on his teeth before and in between the procedures. […]

  • Watch: Cyclist Hits Olympic-Size Medical Bills After Crash

    “CBS This Morning,” in partnership with KHN and NPR, interviews Phil Gaimon, a cyclist who had hoped to be in Tokyo next week as a competitor in the track events on the USA Cycling national team. Instead, a crash on the velodrome track in Pennsylvania in 2019 ended his Olympic dream and left him with […]

  • Bye-Bye to Health Insurance ‘Birthday Rule’? Kansas Lawmaker Floats Fix

    When Kayla Kjelshus gave birth to her first child, the infant spent seven days in the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU. This stressful medical experience was followed by an equally stressful financial one. Because of an obscure health insurance policy called the “birthday rule,” Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, were hit with […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The expansion of health benefits is a major piece of the tentative budget deal reached this week by Democrats in Congress. They plan to press ahead — […]

  • How ERs Fail Patients With Addiction: One Patient’s Tragic Death

    Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he’d wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom. It was difficult to watch, said his mother, Suzanne Rybak, but she admired his persistence. On March 11, 2020, though, Suzanne grew worried. Jameson, 30 at […]

  • A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice.

    Claire Lang-Ree was in a lab coat taking a college chemistry class remotely in the kitchen of her Colorado Springs, Colorado, home when a profound pain twisted into her lower abdomen. She called her mom, Jen Lang-Ree, a nurse practitioner who worried it was appendicitis and found a nearby hospital in the family’s health insurance […]

  • Suficiente para arruinar el descanso: le cobran $10,322 por un estudio del sueño

    Los ronquidos de José Mendoza eran malos, pero para su esposa Nancy era peor cuando dejaba de respirar. El repentino silencio la despertaba, y si pasaban demasiados segundos, lo zarandeaba para que comenzara a respirar de nuevo. Esto sucedía varias veces a la semana. Diagnosticado con apnea del sueño severa hace 15 años, a Mendoza […]

  • Enough to Wreck Their Rest: $10,322 for a Sleep Study

    José Mendoza’s snoring was bad — but the silence when he stopped breathing was even worse for his wife, Nancy. The sudden quiet would wake her and she waited anxiously for him to take another breath. If too many seconds ticked by, she pushed him hard so that he moved and started breathing again. This […]

  • Watch: What Happens When Car and Health Insurance Collide

    “CBS This Morning,” in collaboration with KHN and NPR, tells the story of Mark Gottlieb, a marketing consultant in Little Ferry, New Jersey, who faced more than $700,000 in medical bills after surgery on his spine. Gottlieb was injured in a car accident, and, despite having the maximum amount of personal injury protection in his […]

  • After Accident, Patient Crashes Into $700,000 Bill for Spine Surgery

    Mark Gottlieb’s life changed in an instant when another driver crashed into his car, damaging four vertebrae in his upper spine and smashing six teeth. In the months following that January 2019 crash, Gottlieb got the teeth crowned and, for debilitating neck pain, tried injections, chiropractic care and physical therapy. The treatments were all covered […]

  • Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher.

    Kyunghee Lee’s right hand hurts all the time. She spent decades running a family dry cleaning store outside Cleveland after emigrating from South Korea 40 years ago. She still freelances as a seamstress, although work has slowed amid the covid-19 pandemic. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. While Lee […]

  • Retiree Living the RV Dream Fights $12,387 Nightmare Lab Fee

    Lorraine Rogge and her husband, Michael Rogge, travel the country in a recreational vehicle, a well-earned adventure in retirement. This spring found them parked in Artesia, New Mexico, for several months. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. In May, Rogge, 60, began to feel pelvic pain and cramping. But […]

  • Readers and Tweeters Defend Front-Line Nurses and Blind Us With Science

    Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names. The demand for skilled nurses during the pandemic is through the roof! Travel nurses command a hefty salary and they are worth every penny… #COVID19 #pandemic #RN — Talmage […]

  • After Kid’s Minor Bike Accident, Major Bill Sets Legal Wheels in Motion

    Adam Woodrum was out for a bike ride with his wife and kids on July 19 when his then 9-year-old son, Robert, crashed. “He cut himself pretty bad, and I could tell right away he needed stitches,” said Woodrum. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Because they were on […]

  • KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: As Cases Spike, White House Declares Pandemic Over

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said this week that “we’re not going to control the pandemic,” effectively conceding that the administration has pivoted from prevention to treatment. But COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in most of the nation, and the issue is playing […]

  • Savvy Patient Fought for the Price She Was Quoted − And Didn’t Give Up

    When Tiffany Qiu heard how much her surgery was going to cost her, she was sure the hospital’s financial department had made a mistake. Qiu, who already knew from a breast cancer scare earlier that year that her plan required a 30% coinsurance payment on operations, pressed the person on the phone several times to […]

  • Moved by Plight of Young Heart Patient, Stranger Pays His Hospital Bill

    Even with insurance, Matthew Fentress faced a medical bill of more than $10,000 after a heart operation. A cook at a senior living community in Kentucky, he figured he could never pay what he owed — until a stranger who lives 2,000 miles away stepped in to help. “The system still failed me,” said Fentress, […]

  • Watch: Young Man Faces Medical Bankruptcy — Even With Insurance

    “CBS This Morning” tells the story of Matthew Fentress, a young man who developed serious heart disease after a bout of flu when he was just 25. Now 31, he owes more than $10,000 in hospital bills. KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal explains that the same cardiomyopathy Fentress got can also be a complication of COVID-19. […]

  • Veteran’s Appendectomy Launches Excruciating Months-Long Battle Over Bill

    In late August 2019, Shannon Harness awoke to serious pain in the lower right side of his abdomen — a telltale sign of appendicitis. He booked it to the emergency room of the only hospital in the county: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, Colorado. After a CT scan, doctors told Harness […]

  • ‘An Arm and a Leg’: How to Fight Bogus Medical Bills Like a Bulldog

    Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. After Izzy Benasso had knee surgery, she and her dad received a letter from a surgical assistant giving notice that he “had been present” at the procedure. The surgical assistant was out-of-network and seemed to be laying the groundwork to get the Benassos to pay his fee. […]

  • Watch: When a Surprise Helper During Surgery Is Out-of-Network

    Gayle King of “CBS This Morning” spoke with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal about the latest installment of KHN-NPR’s Bill of the Month. College student Izzy Benasso underwent surgery for a torn meniscus after a tennis injury last summer and was surprised to be contacted afterward by a surgical assistant, who said he would be billing […]

  • Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills

    Izzy Benasso was playing a casual game of tennis with her father on a summer Saturday when she felt her knee pop. She had torn a meniscus, one of the friction-reducing pads in the knee, locking it in place at a 45-degree angle. Although she suspected she had torn something, the 21-year-old senior at the […]