Charlotte, St. Louis County

Two years ago, Charlotte’s 12-year-old son suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. He needed emergency surgery to save his life, but the in-network hospital didn’t have a pediatric neurosurgeon. The nearest hospital that could relieve the pressure in his brain and clip the aneurysm was out-of-network. Charlotte got a call from her insurance company while her son was in the ICU telling her that she would be responsible for the bill when her son was transferred to the out-of-network hospital. If he had stayed even an hour more at the in-network hospital without treatment, he would have died. In the end, Charlotte was left with a bill for over $100,000. Charlotte’s son is now fully recovered and without permanent brain damage. He is lucky to have survived. Charlotte stated,

“The paperwork, appeals, dealing with over 20 pages of invoices from hospitals and the insurance was so complicated. Even with a bachelor’s degree, it was hard to reconcile the paperwork. If balance billing and out-of-network billing wasn’t involved, I would not have had to spend hours each week for 18 months trying to figure out this mess on top of caring for my child as his skull healed and his brain reworked itself. I can’t imagine what a person less educated or with less time would do. Since the journey with my son, I have heard many cases of bankruptcy around the U.S. because of this billing situation.”