Why Was This Father Charged $39.35 by a Hospital to Hold His Newborn Son?

Posted on October 17, 2016 at 12:00pm by
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If you were looking for an example of a surprise hospital bill, you have come to the right place. A father shared his hospital bill on Reddit showing he was charged $39.35 to hold his newborn. His post went viral, and people were genuinely upset that the hospital charged the new parent to hold his son.

It turns out that the hospital charged this amount because the operating room (OR) nurse had to be present for the father to hold the newborn. In other words, the father and his wife were billed by the hospital for the OR nurse’s caregiving services.

This post is an important reminder that hospitals will bill for almost anything – bandages, Tylenol, a box of tissues, a plastic bag for belongings and IV bags. These charges can add up and cause medical bills to become unaffordable, even for people with insurance (especially if they have high deductibles or their policies do not cover everything).

Being billed for so many different services and items can also make hospital bills confusing and rife with errors. In fact, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study shows 49 percent of hospital bills contain errors!

How to Request an Itemized Hospital Bill and Dispute Errors

You can request itemized bills after receiving services at a hospital. Itemized bills can be used to catch errors or contest unreasonable charges and reduce bills.

  • Duplicate billing: Patients are sometimes billed for the same items, services or tests more than once. You can contest these with your hospital and have them dropped from your bill in many cases.
  • Unbundling errors: This happens when charges that are supposed to be grouped together are listed separately. Procedures that require multiple steps are often bundled. For example, surgeries require surgeons to open and close wounds. Hospitals should not charge patients for both. Unbundling errors would be likely to show up on an itemized bill.
  • Phantom charges: Hospitals sometimes charge patients for items of services they never received. For example, your hospital bill contains a charge for bandages when none were used during your stay.

Depending on the errors present in a bill, it may be possible to lower hospital costs by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It is worth the time and effort to go through an itemized bill to look for errors.

The Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm can help you discover solutions for managing excessive medical debts.