Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • gregston
    • By gregston 24th Aug 17, 3:22 PM
    • 3Posts
    • 1Thanks
    gregston
    0 WOW
    Huge US medical bill
    • #1
    • 24th Aug 17, 3:22 PM
    0 WOW
    Huge US medical bill 24th Aug 17 at 3:22 PM
    Hi
    On a visit to the US earlier this year, my wife became unwell. She guessed it was probably a urinary infection that could be cleared by antibiotics. We asked at a pharmacy but they couldn’t sell us anything or advise us where to go. Since we were near the Vermont University Medical Centre, we thought it was worth seeing if it was possible to buy some antibiotics there to knock it on the head.
    We were directed to the reception where my wife explained the problem and was made to follow a procedure of waiting, seeing a clerical person to declare weight, height, etc, being asked to put on a gown and lie down in a consulting room, seeing a doctor, seeing someone else about giving more admin details, seeing a nurse with tablets, and then getting a prescription for antibiotics. She asked several times how much this was going to cost, but no one would give any indication at all. Nor did anyone there suggest an alternative place to go. We were relieved to be charged only $5 for the prescription and the tablets cleared up the problem. However, several weeks later we were horrified to receive a bill from the hospital for $896.97 for hospital services and $416 for physician services – totalling $1,312.97. We would never have agreed to see a doctor at the hospital if we had known the cost.
    We have two questions:
    1) Our insurers have refused to pay the amount, saying that it is a pre-existing condition and should have been declared when taking out the insurance. However, we do not consider this a ‘condition’, rather it is something that people get sometimes, and we were able to send the insurers a note from her GP saying my wife has only had one case of confirmed urinary infection in the last year. Can we argue this any further?
    2) If we are unable to get the money back from the insurers, do we have any redress from the hospital for charging an extortionate amount, having refused at the time to give any idea of the costs? Or what is the likely outcome if we simply don't pay?
Page 3
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 29th Aug 17, 11:07 PM
    • 9,492 Posts
    • 10,664 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    My interpretation is that a pre-existing condition is something like diabetes, hypertension, or similar, requiring on-going monitoring or treatment.
    An infection that had been treated and cleared up does not need to be declared.
    Originally posted by jackyann
    But as you've found out, your interpretation isn't the one that's important. It's now the insurance company defines "pre-existing" that is important and as with any insurance company the rule is always that if you are not sure, ask them or give them all the information when taking out the policy and let them decide.

    Even if an infection has been treated and cleared up, it's possible that the person concerned is more susceptible to that type of infection hence there is a higher than normal chance of it reoccurring.
    This is why insurers normally ask if there have been any medical conditions in the past 1 year, 2 years etc depending on the company.
    • pws52
    • By pws52 30th Aug 17, 4:10 PM
    • 155 Posts
    • 719 Thanks
    pws52
    Thank you to the OP.

    I have just phoned my insurers to update my pre existing conditions info as I have been diagnosed with a UTI during the past year.
    Like him I had assumed that because I had been diagnosed by the GP and prescribed antibiotics and recovered that I didn't need to tell them...but I did and all sorted now.
    Off to the US on Monday so I could have found myself in the same position.

    Thanks again and sorry about your experience.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 30th Aug 17, 7:09 PM
    • 3,158 Posts
    • 6,354 Thanks
    jackyann
    To be clear, I meant " does not need to be declared as a pre-existing condition ". Of course if you are asked about any treatment received, this needs to be answered appropriately.
    A short lived illness that has cleared up with treatment is not a pre-existing condition.
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 30th Aug 17, 7:15 PM
    • 3,158 Posts
    • 6,354 Thanks
    jackyann
    My apologies, my computer is messing about, posted the last reply late, and won't allow editing. Clearly, some insurance companies put a different interpretation on ' pre-existing condition ' to the one I have used in the NHS for a working lifetime.
    I now look forward to ringing my insurers and telling them every time I visit the GP, just to be sure.
    I did not mean to mislead anyone.
    • katejo
    • By katejo 31st Aug 17, 12:29 PM
    • 2,978 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    katejo
    To be clear, I meant " does not need to be declared as a pre-existing condition ". Of course if you are asked about any treatment received, this needs to be answered appropriately.
    A short lived illness that has cleared up with treatment is not a pre-existing condition.
    Originally posted by jackyann

    I have a tendency to get UTI's just as I am going on holiday. It has caused trouble on previous trips. When I last renewed my annual policy, I did opt to declare it and was asked questions about the number of occurrences, the severity (ie did it progress to kidney infection) and whether I had been admitted to hospital. Fortunately I could say no to the extra questions.
    I have managed to get a short course of AB's from the GP to take as a back up. If I have that, I feel more I control and usually don't need them.
    I would definitely do this if going to the US.
    • SnooksNJ
    • By SnooksNJ 2nd Sep 17, 10:38 AM
    • 661 Posts
    • 1,132 Thanks
    SnooksNJ
    Hi
    On a visit to the US earlier this year, my wife became unwell. She guessed it was probably a urinary infection that could be cleared by antibiotics. We asked at a pharmacy but they couldn’t sell us anything or advise us where to go. Since we were near the Vermont University Medical Centre, we thought it was worth seeing if it was possible to buy some antibiotics there to knock it on the head.
    We were directed to the reception where my wife explained the problem and was made to follow a procedure of waiting, seeing a clerical person to declare weight, height, etc, being asked to put on a gown and lie down in a consulting room, seeing a doctor, seeing someone else about giving more admin details, seeing a nurse with tablets, and then getting a prescription for antibiotics. She asked several times how much this was going to cost, but no one would give any indication at all. Nor did anyone there suggest an alternative place to go. We were relieved to be charged only $5 for the prescription and the tablets cleared up the problem. However, several weeks later we were horrified to receive a bill from the hospital for $896.97 for hospital services and $416 for physician services – totalling $1,312.97. We would never have agreed to see a doctor at the hospital if we had known the cost.
    We have two questions:
    1) Our insurers have refused to pay the amount, saying that it is a pre-existing condition and should have been declared when taking out the insurance. However, we do not consider this a ‘condition’, rather it is something that people get sometimes, and we were able to send the insurers a note from her GP saying my wife has only had one case of confirmed urinary infection in the last year. Can we argue this any further?
    2) If we are unable to get the money back from the insurers, do we have any redress from the hospital for charging an extortionate amount, having refused at the time to give any idea of the costs? Or what is the likely outcome if we simply don't pay?
    Originally posted by gregston
    If you don't own property in the US I wouldn't worry about it. I'm 99% sure the hospital won't go after you in the UK. It's a lot easier to write it off and have the US taxpayers pick up the bill.
    Next time look for a walk in clinic like Urgent Care.
    Last edited by SnooksNJ; 02-09-2017 at 10:44 AM.
    • bigadaj
    • By bigadaj 2nd Sep 17, 11:36 AM
    • 10,286 Posts
    • 6,601 Thanks
    bigadaj
    If you don't own property in the US I wouldn't worry about it. I'm 99% sure the hospital won't go after you in the UK. It's a lot easier to write it off and have the US taxpayers pick up the bill.
    Next time look for a walk in clinic like Urgent Care.
    Originally posted by SnooksNJ
    How are the US taxpayers picking up the bill for a private hospital?
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 2nd Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 1,976 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    They may or may not chase you for a relatively small amount (did you give the hospital your UK address?)

    One thing I'm fairly sure about, however, is that you'll never be able to go back to America unless you cough up first.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 2nd Sep 17, 1:15 PM
    • 11,590 Posts
    • 7,847 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    One thing I'm fairly sure about, however, is that you'll never be able to go back to America unless you cough up first.
    Originally posted by Silvertabby
    Thankfully, not even the USA has the kind of laws on indebtedness that are found in Saudi Arabia. Something like this would not be an issue for a visit, although it might cause problems with opening bank accounts and things there.
    • Tom The Great Sebastian
    • By Tom The Great Sebastian 3rd Oct 17, 10:41 AM
    • 854 Posts
    • 948 Thanks
    Tom The Great Sebastian
    I see your online dope internet forum and raise it with a study from Harvard Medical School which says there is no harm in taking antibiotics in tablet form a decade after expiration date.
    Most other drugs in tablet form are perfectly usable even 15 years later.
    Oh and my kid brother is an orthopedic surgeon says it's nonsense too.
    It's like taking a ten-year-old aspirin.Nothing has changed in it since the day it was made.
    It's nonsense peddled by pharmaceutical companies and doctors who have a vested and financial interest in perpetuating the myth.




    https://www.google.ie/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/drug-expiration-dates-do-they-mean-anything&ved=0ahUKEwic0N_6-vjVAhXCZFAKHV4IBTsQFggwMAI&usg=AFQjCNHeM_zoYGDRrny qAVfBu4M6krBgRw
    Originally posted by Tom The Great Sebastian
    Mrs Tom The Great Sebastian's chest infection last week cleared up within a couple of days of using my 10-year-old antibiotics.
    The magic blue pills work wonders again.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 3rd Oct 17, 11:09 AM
    • 18,515 Posts
    • 14,228 Thanks
    agrinnall
    Alternatively, it was a virus that cleared up by itself and your self-medication had nothing to do with it.
    • Tom The Great Sebastian
    • By Tom The Great Sebastian 3rd Oct 17, 11:38 AM
    • 854 Posts
    • 948 Thanks
    Tom The Great Sebastian
    Alternatively, it was a virus that cleared up by itself and your self-medication had nothing to do with it.
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    Nothing had budged it for the previous two weeks.Immediate improvement within hours of taking the first double dose.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

4,550Posts Today

8,795Users online

Martin's Twitter