Surprise Medical Bills Hit Many Oklahomans
Eric McDermott’s mind began to race when he opened his mail and saw a $7,300 bill from the Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine in the spring of 2016.
The letter demanded immediate payment of what the Yukon resident thought were long-settled expenses tied to his daughter’s emergency appendicitis surgery from nearly two years earlier.
McDermott was sure he had the confirmation that the care would be covered as an in-network expense. He had even phoned his insurance company as his daughter was being prepped for surgery.
But the letter shattered that belief. It said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma had reevaluated the claim and determined he now owed nearly 15 times the $500 he had paid as a deductible.
“I was completely blindsided,” he said. “How can you possibly plan for that? Nobody just has $7,000 laying around.”
In McDermott’s case, the bill was eventually dropped – which he credits to the exposure he got from testifying at a legislative hearing on medical billing in 2016, and to his spending about 80 hours on the phone arguing against the charges.
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