The $109K Heart Attack Bill Is Down To $332. What About Other Surprise Bills?

A Texas hospital that charged a teacher $108,951 for care after a heart attack slashed the bill to $332.29 Thursday - but not before the huge charge sparked a national conversation over what should be done to combat surprise medical bills that afflict a growing number of Americans. The story of Drew Calver was first reported by Kaiser Health News and NPR on Monday as part of the “Bill of the Month” series, which examines U.S. health care prices and the troubles patients run up against in the $3.5 trillion industry. In Calver’s case, the 44-year-old father of two had suffered a heart attack in April 2017 and a neighbor rushed him to the nearest emergency room, which was an out-of-network hospital under his school district health plan. His insurance paid the hospital $56,000 for his four day hospitalization and procedures to clear his blocked “widow-maker” artery. But the hospital, St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, wasn’t satisfied with that amount and went after the high school history teacher and swim coach for an additional $109,000 in a practice known as “balance billing.

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