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Hospitalised with no insurance

Hospitalised with no insurance

Old Aug 31st 2010, 11:32 pm
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Default Hospitalised with no insurance

Hello everybody,

I just came over to the US on a K1 Visa. I married my fiancee a month ago. I'm in Los Angeles.

I woke up on Wednesday morning last week and sat down to eat breakfast with my wife. I then slumped over, hit my head on the table before hitting the floor and having a seizure. My wife called an ambulance who came in 10 minutes and took me to a hospital. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

To cut a long story short, I'm OK now and am back home (US home). Various checks and an MRI scan wasn't able to find anything sinister or put a reason as to why I had a seizure. It was the first time it's ever happened to me. Let's hope it's the last.

Now for the science bit:

I had no insurance. My wife was in the process of adding me to hers through her employers, but this hasn't been completed yet.

The first words I uttered when I woke up in the hospital bed was that I don't have insurance. I made all the doctors and nurses know. I don't know if this was necessary but it was just a natural reaction.

I spoke to a nurse and a "hospital social worker" who assured me that it would be alright because this was a "teaching hospital" and that costs are low. One even hinted that I might not be charged at all. I don't know how true that is. They were all very nice to me, but I don't know how long it will be until I wake up and find an invoice for 20 grand in my mailbox.

So I guess my question is: Am I royally screwed?
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Old Aug 31st 2010, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

My alien husband works in West Hollywood, and went to Cedars-Sinai Emergency Room a couple of years ago with a kidney stone attack (he didn't know what it was at the time).

He spent 4 hours in ER, they did something to break up the stone so it would pass, and gave him some pain meds. I think they also did a scan to see if there were more stones.

Total cost of 4 hours in ER and all the procedures was $17,000. Fortunately he'd been in the USA a while and was on my health insurance, we only had to pay $100 out of pocket, insurance covered the rest.

I guess what I'm saying is, his total bill was $17,000 without an ambulance, yours is likely to be more (ambulance service isn't cheap). Did you stay in ER for a few hours, or did you stay overnight in the hospital?

I'm sure the hospital will work with you on a payment plan, or you can negotiate a much lower price if you can pay anything in a lump sum. I can't imagine you wouldn't be charged at all, and I can't imagine the cost being "low", judging from my husband's experience (unless $17,000 for 4 hours in ER is considered "low" to them!)

I'm glad you're feeling better, though!

Rene
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Old Aug 31st 2010, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Tricky one but I have noticed over here that many friends that have had ER visits with no insurance have been better off then those that did have insurance, alot of the time the Hospital will work with you on a payment plan and its $$$$ less then what it would of been with insurance.
Plus can they back date it so it falls in the wifeys policy
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

I don't know about cheap, it's where the stars go (my OH started off working in research there).

But like Poppy said, it seems you can often negotiate on the payment - hope it works out for you and no more seizures.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by hanry View Post
So I guess my question is: Am I royally screwed?
Probably.

At the risk of waking up the moral ones here, I'd suggest you quickly research bankruptcy and protecting your wife's and your assets from your impending calamity. If nothing else, it will give you bargaining power as they attempt to suck you dry.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 12:35 am
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Arrow Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Just speak to the finance department at the hospital. They will offer reduced rates and a payment plan.

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Old Sep 1st 2010, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by hanry View Post
Hello everybody,

I just came over to the US on a K1 Visa. I married my fiancee a month ago. I'm in Los Angeles.

I woke up on Wednesday morning last week and sat down to eat breakfast with my wife. I then slumped over, hit my head on the table before hitting the floor and having a seizure. My wife called an ambulance who came in 10 minutes and took me to a hospital. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

To cut a long story short, I'm OK now and am back home (US home). Various checks and an MRI scan wasn't able to find anything sinister or put a reason as to why I had a seizure. It was the first time it's ever happened to me. Let's hope it's the last.

Now for the science bit:

I had no insurance. My wife was in the process of adding me to hers through her employers, but this hasn't been completed yet.
The first words I uttered when I woke up in the hospital bed was that I don't have insurance. I made all the doctors and nurses know. I don't know if this was necessary but it was just a natural reaction.

I spoke to a nurse and a "hospital social worker" who assured me that it would be alright because this was a "teaching hospital" and that costs are low. One even hinted that I might not be charged at all. I don't know how true that is. They were all very nice to me, but I don't know how long it will be until I wake up and find an invoice for 20 grand in my mailbox.

So I guess my question is: Am I royally screwed?
The following is the exact rule:

After I request special enrollment, how long will I wait for coverage?

It depends on what triggers your right to special enrollment. Those taking advantage of special enrollment as a result of a birth, adoption, or placement for adoption begin coverage no later than the day of the event.

For special enrollment due to marriage or loss of eligibility for other coverage, your new coverage will begin on the first day of the first month after the plan receives the enrollment request. If the plan receives the request on January 3, for example, coverage would begin on February 1.


http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_hipaa.html

However, you amy also have another problem if you had a seizure. You may get your drivers license suspended for a period of time (depending on the state). In California they suspend the drivers license for one year when someone has a seizure to make sure the seizure doesn't ocurr again (I had a friend that had his suspended for one year but he still drove illegally).

Last edited by Michael; Sep 1st 2010 at 1:38 am.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 6:06 am
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
My alien husband works in West Hollywood, and went to Cedars-Sinai Emergency Room a couple of years ago with a kidney stone attack (he didn't know what it was at the time).

He spent 4 hours in ER, they did something to break up the stone so it would pass, and gave him some pain meds. I think they also did a scan to see if there were more stones.

Total cost of 4 hours in ER and all the procedures was $17,000.
That actually sound kind of high to me. I went through something very similar just over a year ago - same problem - kidney stones (although like your husband I didn't know what it was) - similar treatment and a similar length of time in the ER and as far as I can remember the total bill (which was paid for by my insurance) was "only" about $6,000.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Welcome to BE Hanry

Sorry to hear about your seizure, hope you can work things out with the hospital or your wifes ins' co'. Hope this doesn't mean they will look at you as having a pre-existing condition now? Let us know how everything works out. Hope you are feeling much better!
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 12:21 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
That actually sound kind of high to me. I went through something very similar just over a year ago - same problem - kidney stones (although like your husband I didn't know what it was) - similar treatment and a similar length of time in the ER and as far as I can remember the total bill (which was paid for by my insurance) was "only" about $6,000.
At the same hospital? Interesting.

I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen the bill with my own eyes. All the statements and insurance info came to me here in Phoenix.

Rene
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by hanry View Post
I don't know how long it will be until I wake up and find an invoice for 20 grand in my mailbox.

So I guess my question is: Am I royally screwed?
You may find it to be more than that, especially with the ambulance and MRI. My son had an ambulance trip earlier this year, the transportation part alone cost $2200 and we only live a few miles from the ambulance base and a few miles from the hospital. The treatment given was another few hundred.

The only thing you can do is wait until the bills roll in, it will likely be multiple ones, then call the patient assistance number and try and bargain a cheaper price and payment plan.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

I would get your wife to talk to her employer and/or Insurance company.

I know my employer allows me to add / remove people from my insurance cover when a life event happens (Birth, marriage, death,...) within 30 days of the event. They then back date the coverage to the date of the event. Which in your case would be the day you got married.

I have had 2 different employers with different medical insurance companies and both have been the same.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 6:06 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
I'd suggest you quickly research bankruptcy and protecting your wife's and your assets from your impending calamity. If nothing else, it will give you bargaining power as they attempt to suck you dry.
I absolutely agree with you. First order of business - protect your assets.

Hanry - we're not joking about this. Health care is the single highest cause of bankruptcy in the US. This single hospitalization has the potential to wipe you out financially. Protect yourself financially... and do it now! Further, the US is the singlemost litigious society on the planet. If you can't afford the medical costs - prepare to be sued.

Ian
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
I absolutely agree with you. First order of business - protect your assets.

Hanry - we're not joking about this. Health care is the single highest cause of bankruptcy in the US. This single hospitalization has the potential to wipe you out financially. Protect yourself financially... and do it now! Further, the US is the singlemost litigious society on the planet. If you can't afford the medical costs - prepare to be sued.

Ian
Unbelievable! As well as worrying about an illness you have all this crap to deal with. I remember listening to an interview with a breast cancer survivor...she said her battle with cancer was nothing compared to her battle over the medical bills.
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Old Sep 1st 2010, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Hospitalised with no insurance

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I remember listening to an interview with a breast cancer survivor...she said her battle with cancer was nothing compared to her battle over the medical bills.
Yes - I saw that report. I agree... unbelieveable!

Ian
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