Insurance and Medical Bills

I shouldn’t complain… we’ve been blessed.

We are self employed so we purchase our own health insurance through Humana.

We have high deductible insurance.

We have 2 deductibles, one for medical, one for mental health.

$10,000 each, $20,000 total.


medical concept -  stethoscope over the dollar bills

Last year we hit the limit on both deductibles.

Thankfully the bulk of that deductible was incurred at the local hospital.  They offer financial aid.  Based on the amount we owed them we qualified for assistance. They wrote off a portion of what we owed them so our total was significantly reduced.  They accept payments so every month we pay them $100 and will for a long time.  Compared to what could have been it’s a huge blessing.

The ambulance ride was a different story.  My son was transferred up to the University of Utah last summer. It was pre-authorized but our insurance originally refused to pay.  The bill was over $10,000.  I battled with them and sent in appeals.  Finally they paid about half of it but determined that they were not required to pay for a trip to Salt Lake when there was a facility closer in Las Vegas he could have gone to.   They would only pay the distance to have transported him to Vegas (the nearest facility that offered needed treatment).   I appealed again since it was pre-authorized and the claim was reviewed but they refused to pay any more.  So then I battled with the ambulance service.  I still owed them a lot of money and despite the fact that they had already been well paid they were not a contracted provided and weren’t required to discount their rate. Had my son had Medicaid at the time they would have agreed to accept just $1,200 for that same ride.  Ultimately they cut me a break and lowered my total owed to $1,500.  At that point I quit fighting and started paying.  A few months later they called to say they were going out of business so if I would pay half of the remaining total that day they would write off the remaining amount.  Total paid $900 for an ambulance ride from St. George to Salt Lake.  A lot better than the $5,000 I owed after insurance but still totally messed up in my book for an ambulance ride that was pre-authorized.

So far this year we have had 3 additional trips to the hospital. The first 2 trips were just to the emergency room (one via ambulance). In both instances he was released after a couple hours.  Total for those 2 trips was close to $5,000.  The 3rd visit was a 6 day stay.  I haven’t seen the bill.  I don’t want to.  I’m sure it will mean we’ve far exceeded our deductible for mental health.  Thankfully my son turned 18 and now qualifies for Medicaid.  I’m not a fan of government assistance. Not knowing what else to do when the medical bills started rolling in this year we applied for assistance for him and he qualified.  Medicaid will pick up what the insurance won’t.  It’ a huge relief and blessing for us.

Our medical system is messed up.  How can a ambulance trip to the local hospital cost $1,500.  And a transfer to another hospital cost over $10,000.  Who can afford to pay that kind of bill?