Bisi Bennett: Florida woman charged $550K by hospital despite having health insurance
Despite having health insurance, Bisi Bennett, 38, from Orlando, Florida, wound up with a hospital bill of more than half a million dollars after delivering her son Dorian. While her infant was in intensive care, she switched health insurance policies, which she claims caused considerable billing difficulties. Bisi Bennett's son Dorian is now a healthy one-year-old, but she was afraid for his health when he was delivered prematurely in November 2020 and taken to the NICU.
Bennett told DailyMail, "I didn't even know whether he was born alive and if he was stillborn. So I'm sobbing and worried because I have no idea if he'll make it at that moment." Dorian spent nearly two months in the hospital before he was well enough to return home. She then received the hospital bill, which totaled more than $550,000. "I was very upset when I saw the half-a-million-dollar bill because I felt like I have done everything in my power to avoid them sending me that huge bill," she explained.
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She had chosen a hospital that was part of United Healthcare's network. Her company switched health coverage to UMR in January 2021, while her son was still in the NICU. The hospital billed both insurances for both years, rather than invoicing United Healthcare for 2020 and UMR for 2021. Bennett was charged more than $550,000 after neither party would pay the amount due to the administrative mistake.
"I called the hospital several times just to let them know, 'Hey, you guys are lumping the bill together, you need to split it out.'" Despite her objections, the identical bill was sent out again, this time with a payment plan of roughly $46k per month. "Which is ridiculous. I don't have $46,000 to pay a month," Bennett said. "I was scared that I was going to end up in collections," she added. "I hope that by doing this story, that they would really think about just health care from a holistic standpoint. 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."
After being approached by Kaiser Health News in October, the Advent Health Orlando Hospital changed the bill. Bennett's bill was subsequently revised to a total of $300. United Healthcare stated in a statement that it did not receive the 2020 component of the hospital bill until this autumn and that it has since been paid. "We apologize for the frustration this caused," the hospital stated in a statement. "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." "The problem here is that when there's a snafu or a disagreement between providers, the patient is left holding the bag," said Dr Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News.