Obamacare patients socked with huge cash bills flee hospitals
By Cheryl K. Chumley
The Washington Times
Friday, January 3, 2014
Staffers with at least one hospital in Northern Virginia turned away several patients this week due to confusion about Obamacare: Were the patients covered by insurance or not?
Some patients walked away when they learned that the hospital would be charging them hundreds of dollars for treatment because they couldn’t prove their enrollment in the federal health care system.
“They had no idea if my insurance was active or not,” one woman, Maria Galvez, said to The Daily Mail, outside the Inova Healthplex facility in Springfield, Va. So instead of paying the $500 or more for her needed chest x-ray, she left – untreated, the paper reported.
“The people in there told me that since I didn’t have an insurance card, I would be billed for the whole cost of the x-ray,” she said. “It’s not fair. You know, I signed up last week like I was supposed to.”
Ms. Galvez said she had enrolled in Carefirst Blue Cross three days before Christmas, for $450 per month.
At the same time, she said, in The Daily Mail, “no one has sent me a bill.”
Ms. Galvez’s experience was shared by others.
A woman who asked to be published only by the name Mary said she couldn’t receive emergency services at the Inova Alexandria Hospital down the road, in Alexandria, Va., for the same reason.
“I had chest pains last night,” she said to The Daily Mail, on Thursday. “They took me in the emergency room. They told me they were going to admit me, but when I told them I hadn’t heard from my insurance company since I signed up, they changed their tune.”
She said that a nurse told her that her hospital bill would be at least $3,000 a day if she stayed, due to her inability to prove insurance coverage. Rather than stay and pay, she left.
“Should I be in the hospital? Probably,” she said, The Daily Mail reported. “Maybe it’s one of those borderline cases. I have to think that if I were really in danger, they wouldn’t give me the choice. But what if I think I’m covered and I’m really not? The emergency room bill is going to bad enough.”