Following the birth of her baby, a Florida mother was billed more than half a million dollars, and the hospital offered to let her pay the debt in a dozen $46,000 monthly installments.
On November 12, 2020, Bisi Bennett, 38, of Orlando, Florida, received her one-year-old son Dorian in the family’s Mitsubishi Outlander while her husband drove her to the hospital near midnight.
The baby boy was born prematurely in the breech position, which means his head came out last, and the new parents received an exceptional bill of $660,553, with the patient’s duty being $550,134.76.
The payment plan wasn’t any better, with Advent Health Orlando – an in-network facility that accepts Bennett’s insurance – offering the new family a year to settle the amount in $45,843.73 payments.
The offer was generated by the medical facility’s billing system, as all non-profit institutions are required by the Affordable Care Act to provide financial aid.
In 2010, the financial aid policy was implemented.
‘It was ridiculous, I don’t have $46,000 to pay a month,’ Bennett told CBS Mornings.
Bennett’s health insurance transferred from United Healthcare to UMR on January 1st, a change Bennett made sure the hospital was aware of ahead of time.
Rather than splitting the bill between the two providers and invoicing United Healthcare for 2020 expenses and UMR for 2021, the payment was billed in whole to both firms, which both refused due to the ‘uncovered’ time on the bill.
The bill was denied by the insurance companies because it included days when Dorian was not covered under their plans.
‘I called the hospital several times to let them know:
“Hey, you’re lumping the bill together, you need to split it out,”‘ Bennett told CBS Mornings.
‘I was scared that I was going to go into collections,’ she said. Her bill – which was eventually adjusted to $300, plus her $6,000 deductible – wasn’t updated until September.
United Healthcare stated it did not receive the 2020 bill until Fall 2021, and that their portion of the bill had been paid, according to CBS Mornings.
According to NPR, after being born prematurely, Baby Dorian spent 56 days in the NICU and required highly technical, lifesaving respiratory and nutritional care.
Dorian’s parents were worried that their son was stillborn after he didn’t cry, but doctors told the new parents that ‘he has a pulse’ after cutting the umbilical cord while the couple was rolled into the hospital.
He also underwent laboratory, radiological, surgery, cardiology, and audiology tests and treatments during his nearly two-month stay.
He didn’t get out of the hospital until the 7th of January. Chris, her 39-year-old husband, was also diagnosed with stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer in April.
In a statement to CBS Mornings, the healthcare facility also stated that “future patients” will hopefully avoid the stress and frustration Bennett experienced because the experience “has allowed us to identify opportunities within our system to improve the billing and communications process.”