SUMMARY: Always question your bills. Always. Our friends over at Commonhealth wrote a piece not long ago about a woman who was charged $1,126 for a 2-inch bandage. After a year of fruitless complaining, she posted on the hospital’s Facebook page. Guess what?
“Happy ending alert: Yesterday, as part of our “Medical Bills That Make You Say ‘What?”‘ series, we posted here the disturbing story of a Florida hospital bill that included an $1126 charge for a 2-inch elastic bandage,” Carey Goldberg writes on the Commonhealth blog at WBUR in Boston. “Stephanie Allen, the 32-year-old educational technologist who sent it in, had been fighting the bill for a year, to no avail.
“Yesterday, she shared a link to our post on the Florida hospital’s Facebook page. And today, she tells us, she awoke to an email from the hospital’s patient access director that included this:
“I was sorry to hear about the issues you were having with your account. As a result, we have reviewed the charge information from your visit and discovered that the item that was charged at $1,126.00 was erroneously changed to this amount during a system update. The actual change for the 2” elastic bandage your received is $2.00. Your account has been credited $1,124.00. Please feel free to contact me if I may be of further assistance.” Carey Goldberg, Follow-Up On That $1126 Charge For A 2-Inch Bandage: Oops, It’s $2 | CommonHealth.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.