A US woman was shocked when being handed a hospital bill of over half a million dollars, after giving birth prematurely to her son.
First-time mother Bisi Bennett, 38, went into premature labour when she was seven months pregnant in November last year.
Her son Dorian was born breech, meaning his head came out last.
‘I did everything in my power to avoid this bill’
He was not crying at first, which worried his parents. “I didn’t even know if he was born alive and if he was stillborn,” Bennett told CBS Mornings.
Dorian subsequently had to be hospitalised for two months until he could be released home.
Bennett, who works in the insurance industry, was not worried because she chose Advent Health Orlando, which was in her insurance provider United Healthcare’s network.
But when the baby was set to go home, the hospital gave her an astonishing bill of $550,000, the equivalent of £415,085.
“I was very upset when I saw the half-a-million-dollar bill because I felt like I done everything in my power to avoid them sending me that huge bill,” Bennett said.
What is more, her employer changed the healthcare provider to UMR in 2021, which meant that instead of billing United Healthcare for 2020 and UMR for 2021, the hospital billed both policies for both years.
None of the insurance firms wanted to cover the bill caused by the administrative error, so Bennett was faced with the shocking sum.
Frightened woman says health ‘is not just when you’re in the hospital’
She repeatedly got in touch with the hospital to ask them to split the bill, but the same bill kept being sent again and again, amounting to a payable sum of $46,000 a month (£34,716).
After science news outlet Kaiser Health News contacted Advent Health Orlando Hospital in October this year, Bennett’s bill was updated the bill to a total of $300 (£226).
But Bennett talked about the fear she felt that she was going to “end up in collections.”
“Health is not just when you’re in the hospital… It also has to do with how you treat someone after they’ve been discharged from the hospital,” she added.
United Healthcare sent out a written statement apologising and said that it didn’t get the 2020 portion of the hospital bill until this fall.
The statement read: “We apologise for the frustration this caused.
“For future patients like Ms Bennett, who may experience a change in insurance during their treatment, this case has allowed us to identify opportunities within our system to improve the billing and communications process.”
Another US woman warned UK to be grateful for NHS
Earlier this year, an American woman living in the UK highlighted the main differences between giving birth in Britain versus the US.
Lisa Dollan, from Atlanta, Georgia, now lives in Leeds and showed off her bill for having a baby in the US.
Without insurance, the bill came to $69,634 – almost £52,000.
“Grateful for the NHS yet?”, the woman asked.