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Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:28 AM

5 days in psychiatric care led to $21,000 hospital bill



Arline Feilen lost her husband to suicide in 2013. Three years later, she lost her dad to cancer. And this February, she lost her 89-year-old mom to a cascade of health problems.

“We were like glue, and that first Mother’s Day without her was killer. It just dragged me down,” said Feilen, who is 56 and lives in suburban Chicago. “It was just loss after loss after loss, and I just crumbled.”

A few days after that painful holiday, she drank eight or nine light beers in several hours, trying to drown her pain. She sent alarming texts to her sister and friends, raising concern she might harm herself. One friend called 911, summoning an ambulance that took her to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

Feilen arrived in the emergency room on a mid-May night and was moved to a shared room in the inpatient psychiatric unit the next day. In total, she spent five nights in the hospital.

Feilen underwent tests: bloodwork, an abdominal ultrasound and an electrocardiogram. She got group counseling, which her sister, Kathy McCoy, said really helped. She also started taking an antidepressant, Remeron.

When she got home, she stopped drinking beer. She kept taking the medication and got counseling. She came to view her mental health crisis as “another mountain I’ve climbed” — and reminded herself of her accomplishment by keeping her hospital bracelet in her bedroom near a candle. Her grief began to recede.

Then the bill came.

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/days-psychiatric-care-led-21k-hospital-bill/story?id=66662495&cid=social_twitter_abcn

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Reply 5 days in psychiatric care led to $21,000 hospital bill (Original post)
demmiblue Nov 2 OP
Ohiogal Nov 2 #1
progree Nov 2 #7
Wawannabe Nov 2 #2
beveeheart Nov 2 #3
JudyM Nov 2 #4
appalachiablue Nov 2 #5
progree Nov 2 #6

Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 10:54 AM

1. In this country

Navigating the health insurance choices available if you have to buy it yourself, is a hideously confusing experience. I know, I have tried it and gave up on it, too.

I have an appointment with a health insurance navigator next week who should be able to help me figure things out. Just the fact that there is such a thing as a health insurance navigator tells you all you need to know about how confusing it is for the average person.

I can totally relate to the part where no one can tell you how much anything costs if you don't have insurance.

What happened to this lady never should happen to anyone, and in any other country, she wouldn't have had this experience. We need health care fixed, now. We need universal health care. !!! If it's too hard a sell, then at least go with Mayor Pete's plan for Medicare "for all who want it." Our health care system as it stands is totally failing the American people, and it doesn't have to be this way. Trump says "America First".... my ass!

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Response to Ohiogal (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 02:57 PM

7. Interestingly she looked at ACA plans but was confused, so went with junk insurance instead

I have an appointment with a health insurance navigator next week who should be able to help me figure things out. Just the fact that there is such a thing as a health insurance navigator tells you all you need to know about how confusing it is for the average person.


Good for you!

A lot of people are confused, and almost nobody knows everything they need to know.

This from the article:

When she was buying insurance years ago, Feilen said, she started to look into plans on healthcare.gov [these are ACA plans] that offer subsidies to many people with low or middle-class incomes. But she said she found them confusing and gave up.


The article said she had a very low income, so she almost certainly would have qualified for a large subsidy that would probably have brought her ACA insurance premium to below that of what the junk insurance charges (which aren't eligible for subsidies). But a lot of people who buy junk insurance don't know about that.

The article also mentioned that, while filling out a financial aid form at the hospital:
"Although her annual income is below the poverty level ― and she likely qualifies for Medicaid ― she received a modest inheritance from her parents that she has put into a retirement plan, she said, and thought that meant she wouldn’t qualify."

well, I don't know what the hospital's policy is for financial aid, but I can assure people that one's net worth is not not not a factor at all at all at all in determining ACA subsidies.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 11:47 AM

2. I broke my wrist

And the two hour visit to the emergency room cost $5000 that’s 1/4 of this amount.
They only set and splinted it -nothing else -for $5000.

I went to a surgery center not a hospital for the surgery on my wrist - it was $3000 total. There were a few side bills such as the anesthesiologist and they charged extra for the x-rays and follow up but I don’t think we’ve paid the surgery center anywhere near $5000.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 12:03 PM

3. $6,500 For 5 hour Emergency Room visit

just a couple of weeks ago, including IV, Xray, EKG. GOOD thing I have insurance.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 12:30 PM

4. K&R. Our health "care" system is quite sick, itself.

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 01:38 PM

5. Wide open looting of the middle & working classes, what's left of them

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Response to demmiblue (Original post)

Sat Nov 2, 2019, 02:36 PM

6. K&R It's very worthwhile to read the entire article. She was insured

but it was an “association health plan” - a form of junk insurance that doesn't conform to ACA requirements, but has been allowed to continue to exist. (And Caligula and his administration have been promoting junk insurance, e.g. allowing short-term health plans, another form of junk insurance, to change from 90 days to 1 day short of a year. Edited to add that I see there are examples in this article too about other ways the Caligulites have relaxed restrictions on junk insurance rules to suck more people into them)

She was also aware when she bought this insurance that it didn't cover mental health, and didn't think she needed it at the time. Whether she needed 5 days in the psych ward people can argue about, myself, I don't think so. All's it takes is one person dropping the dime on you ... no matter how well-intentioned ... for things to escalate into this kind of exploitative scenario.

Also, even good insurance would not be much help if she was taken to an out-of-network hospital by an out-of-network ambulance and treated by out-of-network doctors and her samples sent to an out-of-network lab, etc. Google "surprise medical bills out of network".

Oh, this is interesing from the article:
NAMI’s Snow said it’s sometimes tough for consumers to know whether a plan complies with the health care law. Plans sold outside of healthcare.gov may be labeled “Obamacare” but not have the health law’s guaranteed benefits.


Here's my posting on junk insurance:

Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump, Bloomberg Businessweek, 9/17/19,
https://www.democraticunderground.com/114222021

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