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Advice: Uninsured newlywed gets a huge hospital bill

Sunday, February 6, 2011 @ 05:02 PM
posted by admin

Dear Liz: I’m 26 and got married in August. For our honeymoon, we went to my hometown. We went for a hike through the hills and I got bitten by a rattlesnake.

After I spent the night in a hospital, we got a bill for just under $20,000. I don’t have health insurance (big mistake, I know). Because our combined income is more than $24,000, we were told we were not eligible for any discount. The woman I spoke with about the bill told me my options were to pay off the bill at $550 a month for the next three years, which is more than we pay for rent; pay the bill in full and get a 10% discount, which I do not have the money for; or file for bankruptcy.

We’re going to look at getting me on my wife’s insurance plan and see if we might be able to get them to retroactively cover some of the cost, but that doesn’t seem too likely even though the incident happened less than a week after we got married. What is the best course of action?

Answer: Don’t hold your breath about getting covered retroactively — that’s not going to happen. But get added to your wife’s insurance as soon as possible anyway. As you’ve seen, even the healthiest person is just one accident or illness away from potentially catastrophic bills, and having insurance will help you the next time.



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