Woman who had premature birth in US handed hospital bill for $500,000

Woman who had premature birth in US handed hospital bill for $500,000

A Florida woman was shocked when she received a hospital bill of more than $500,000 - after giving birth to her son prematurely.

Bisi Bennett, a first-time mother, went into labour when she was seven months pregnant in November 2020 after experiencing one strong contraction.

Her son Dorian is a healthy one-year-old now, but he was born breech, which means his head came out last.

Initially, his parents feared something was wrong as the newborn was not crying.

"I didn't even know if he was born alive and if he was stillborn," Bennett told CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil.

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Dorian was hospitalised for two months before he was healthy enough to return home.

In a report from NPR, Dorian required things such as 'highly technical, lifesaving respiratory and nutritional care until his organs matured' over a period of 56 days.

Bennett, who works in the insurance industry, said that while Dorian was in the hospital, she chose Advent Health Orlando because of its close proximity to the house and its in her insurance network.

However, the switch led to confusion, resulting in a bill of more than $550,000.

Bennett was "very upset" because she thought she did everything to prevent "that huge bill."

While her son was still in NICU in January 2021, her employer changed health plans to UMR.

So instead of billing United Healthcare for 2020 and UMR for 2021, the hospital billed both policies for both years.

When none of the insurance companies would cover the bill due to the administrative error, Bennett was charged that hefty fee.

Bennett said that she repeatedly called the hospital to let them know that they needed to split the bill out, but the same bill was sent again, with a plan of almost $46,000 a month.

Bennett further said that she was frightened 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.

The Advent Health Orlando Hospital ended up revising the bill after Kaiser Health News reached out to them in October 2021.

Bennett's bill was then updated to a fraction of the original cost to $300 overall.

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.

"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."

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