In 2016 Jessica Pell fainted and cut her ear when she fell. She went to Hoboken University Medical Center, where was given an ice pack and a bandage. That was the extent of her treatment. She did not get a diagnosis. Her bill was $5,751.
Pell left the ER when she discovered the plastic surgeon who would see her was out of network for her insurance. She decided to go to an in-network facility instead. She thought this was a smart way to avoid the costly fees that came with seeing a provider that wasn’t included in her health plan.
“I decided to decline treatment because I can’t really afford any surprise bills right now,” she said. “The bill I’d probably incur would not be worth saving my ear, which was sad but a choice I had to make.”
Pell’s health insurance plan paid the hospital $862, what it deemed a “reasonable and appropriate” fee for the services the hospital paid. That left Pell with a $4,989 bill that she received on February 28.
“There was no way for me to have avoided this bill, to have known what I would have been charged,” Pell says.
In other words, if you get injured in the United States and don't have the kind of taxpayer-funded medical insurance that members of Congress have, you are screwed.
American health care is so screwed up, so horribly distorted by the insurance companies' abusive practices, that millions of Americans (even those with insurance) fly to Mexico every year to get state-of-the-art medical care -- and a resort vacation in the bargain -- rather than face the US system, and save money by doing so.
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