Bill Of The Month

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 …

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¿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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 — …

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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 …

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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 …

A Hospital Charged $722.50 to Push Medicine Through an IV. Twice. Read More »

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

Her Doctor’s Office Moved One Floor Up. Her Bill Was 10 Times Higher. Read More »

College Tuition Sparked a Mental Health Crisis. Then the Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived.

Despite a lifelong struggle with panic attacks, Divya Singh made a brave move across the world last fall from her home in Mumbai, India. She enrolled at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, to study physics and explore an interest in standup comedy in Manhattan. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished …

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Baby Blues: First-Time Parents Blindsided by ‘the Birthday Rule’ and a $207,455 NICU Bill

In the nine months leading up to her due date, Kayla Kjelshus and her husband, Mikkel, meticulously planned for their daughter’s arrival. This story also ran on NPR. It can be republished for free. Their long to-do list included mapping out their family’s health insurance plan and registering for baby gear and supplies. They even …

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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 …

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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 https://t.co/gYQpkHqaoX — Talmage …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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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. …

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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 …

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‘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. …

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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 …

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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 …

Ever Heard of a Surgical Assistant? Meet a New Boost to Your Medical Bills Read More »