Woman Billed $700 for ER Visit with No Treatment. What are Your Healthcare Rights?

Billing Disputes - November 10, 2021
Collage about dealing with expensive emergency room visits

What if you get billed just for showing up at the ER with no treatment?

When a woman in Atlanta went to an emergency room for a head injury, she left with nothing but confusion and disappointment seven hours later. That’s right. After sitting in the waiting room for hours on end, eventually, she gave up and left without receiving help. In fact, she never even saw a doctor or had her vitals checked.

Weeks later, she received a not-so-fun surprise in the mail: A $700 bill from the hospital. Surely, she thought, this was a mistake.

Showing up means paying up.

After immediately calling the hospital, she learned it was not a mistake – at least from their point of view. Although she waited seven hours and hadn’t received treatment, she signed in and gave the hospital her SSN.

According to the hospital, their protocol is to bill patients once they sign in, not after they are treated. It doesn’t seem right, does it?

What are your healthcare rights when it comes to disputing medical bills?

This whole case begs the question: What in the world do you do in a situation like this? How can you defend your healthcare rights? Here are some things to keep in mind when disputing your medical bill:

  1. Track your notes. Write down and keep tabs on dates, treatments, and any questions you have regarding your medical bill.
  2. Start with a phone call. Call and keep calling about a bill until you get the right person on the phone. It may take a few tries but be patient and persistent. Remain calm and have questions and notes prepared.
  3. Request a bill with individualized charges. Make sure to get the correct bill – one that has each treatment or service laid out with individualized costs.
  4. Do your research. Ask yourself: What would this procedure cost at a different hospital? Is this standard protocol? Do the charges make sense? You can’t contest a medical statement simply because it’s expensive, but if the bill seems like a mistake, gather your research and bring it to them.
  5. Follow up with your request in writing. After making a phone call, send an email or letter requesting a specific bill in writing. This is important because it gets your request in documentable proof and may help remind the medical center to take action.
  6. Consult with a lawyer when needed. Your provider lawyer can send letters or make phone calls on your behalf or give you consultation on your options to legally escalate the matter.

Talk to your provider lawyer when contesting medical bills.

Your healthcare rights matter and we’re here to help you navigate them. Talk to your provider lawyer to get a consultation on how to contest medical bills or proceed with other medical-legal matters.


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