IHF Community Corner

Dr. Eigen reviews questions from the community about everything related to medical debt and medical bills and provides feedback based on his expertise as a physician leader. If you have a question that you would like Dr. Eigen to address, please submit the question through this email: info@indianahealthfund.org

Question: My friend’s wife went into labor unexpectedly at home and they called an ambulance. She ended up delivering the baby in the ambulance. They were charged by the hospital for both the delivery in the ambulance and for delivering at the hospital even though she didn’t deliver the baby at the hospital. Why did they have to pay for delivering the baby twice?

Answer: Why did they have to pay for delivering the baby twice?… This is an unusual issue with billing. I don’t have an answer but can give you some questions to ask the hospital billing office.

  1. Was the delivery completed in the delivery room at the hospital?
  2. Were you charged for the ambulance or the ambulance delivery?
  3. How much of this bill fell to you as copay?

The hospital may forgive some of that. If all of it went to insurance to pay, then the insurance company can rectify this with the hospital. Just be sure that they don’t continue to bill you for any copay.

Question: Why is healthcare free in most other countries and why is it so expensive here in the U.S?

Answer: Medical care is not free in any country that I know of. The nurses must be paid as do the doctors and other staff. The buildings and equipment need to be bought and maintained. The cost of healthcare is either paid through taxes, or more directly by the patient directly and through insurance (as in the USA). The main way that some countries reduce costs is by rationing care. In the UK a survey showed the average waiting time for a hip replacement was 239 days, that 15% of the patients were operated on within 3 months, and that 21% had to wait more than 6 months.


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