18 Stories From Americans Who Were Charged Outrageous Amounts For Healthcare

    "Boomers like to harp on us for not letting our kids 'be kids,' and this is why. We just can’t afford for them to get even minor injuries."

    We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community if they'd ever been charged a ridiculous amount for healthcare in the US. There were sadly — but not surprisingly — many upsetting submissions. Here are some of their responses:

    1. "My 3-year-old daughter woke up in the middle of the night crying about stomach pain. We took her to the ER in case it was appendicitis. By the time the doctor checked her, the pain was gone, and we went home. Even with insurance, the bill was $1,400."

    Little girl with her hands over her face

    2. "I was supposed to get a colonoscopy, but they called me the day before to tell me it would be $900 up front after insurance. I told them, 'That’s really funny and everything, but I'm gonna have to cancel.' So anyway, hopefully I’m not dying."


    3. "Got charged $3,600 dollars to go to the hospital after a sexual assault. This is without doing a rape kit. After I posted online freaking out that I would never be able to pay this enormous amount off, some kind strangers helped me. Without them, I would still be paying $50 a month for my rape."


    4. "My husband and I recently had our first child. We both have private health insurance and chose an upgraded plan specifically for having a baby in mind. After giving birth with no extreme complications, we received a bill for over $15,000, after insurance. They charged both my insurance and my newborn's insurance. They charged our son FOR HIS OWN BIRTH!"

    Woman giving birth and holding her husband's hand

    5. "My husband ran into a wall in the dark and busted his forehead open. The cut was pretty deep, so we went to the ER. He spent 10 minutes with the doc and got three stitches. The bill? $3,000. That's $300/minute, $1,000 per stitch. WTF?"


    6. "I have epilepsy, and I always make a point to avoid ambulances and ERs unless I injure myself when I have a seizure. I pay for the best insurance my company offers and one of the perks of the higher premium plan is that if I do find myself in the ER, I should only owe $200 as a copay."

    "I recently had a bad seizure and ended up using my head to break the fall on my tiled kitchen floor, so I went to the ER to be safe. The hospital billed my insurance for around $4,600, and my insurance processed the claim and said I only owe the $200 copay. Imagine my shock when I got a bill from this IN-NETWORK HOSPITAL claiming they billed my insurance almost $10K and that I owed them around $5,500 after insurance payments/adjustments. Neither me nor my insurance company knows where these numbers are coming from. We need universal healthcare."


    7. "I was told that I had to make an appointment to get a medication refill for a med that I’ve been on for years. I had a 15-minute PHONE CALL appointment and just got a bill for $511.70."

    Man looking stressed on the phone

    8. "Two years ago, I had to be rushed to the ER because of excruciating pain. My gf drove me because who has money for an ambulance? I kept throwing up and was curled up on the ER floor, sobbing. They had me sign lord knows what while I was still out of it from pain. Finally, I got some morphine and found out I had kidney stones."

    "Months later, I got multiple bills. The biggest being a suprise bill from the ER doctor I saw for all of 30 seconds. It was around $1,500 because while the hospital is in network, the doctor wasn't. Insurance said they'd get it worked out since I can't control which doctor I get at an ER. A few months later, I got the bill again, and they said they can't/won't do anything to help me despite what they'd said before. I'm still paying off all those bills."


    9. "I was charged $2.2 million for my NICU baby born at 28 weeks. She was there for 92 days."


    10. "We pay about $650 per month for insurance. Kid got kicked in the face running behind the swings at a playground, split her upper lip open, and we went to the ER. She had six stitches, some minor pain medication, and lidocaine — we paid $2,000 for it altogether. For six stitches."

    11. "I had gallstones and went to the hospital. They barely touched me: They took a urine sample and did an ultrasound to confirm it was gallstones. The physician's assistant is the one who diagnosed me. I never saw a real doctor. He gave me a shot of extra strength Tylenol and told me there was nothing else they could do since I didn't have insurance. (I had aged off my parents' insurance earlier that year)."

    "Less then a month later, I was in a different ER, and they did an emergency surgery because my gallstones had caused pancreatitis. The first trip cost me $6,000. And the ultrasound was only $47; I got that bill separately. The actual surgery was $18k with a 10-day hospital stay. Our healthcare system is a joke."


    12. "While pregnant, I had an iron deficiency. Unfortunately, I could not take iron pills, as they made me very ill. I needed two iron infusions. I ended up paying over $3,000 for iron. Absolutely ridiculous."


    13. "Just got a bill for eight therapy sessions. The grand total? Nearly $2,000. And that’s with insurance. I make $12.50 an hour and have rent and all my other bills to pay. Needless to say, I didn’t even get to enjoy that $1,400 stimulus check. Mental health resources should be more affordable."

    Woman looking at bills sadly

    14. "I was in a bad car accident that led to lifelong complications. Once, my lower back and butt were hurting so bad that I couldn't stand up straight, my right leg went numb, and I couldn't pee. I went to the hospital, where they told me I had cauda equina syndrome. Because I live in a small town, they took me to a university hospital in the next state."

    "They wanted to do surgery, but it was no longer an emergency (herniated disks in my back were pinching nerves, but steroids and other drugs helped them ease off). Because I didn't have insurance and because I didn't live in that state, I didn't qualify for any kind of programs or help to pay. So I went home, still with herniated disks and owing about $65k to the hospital. They demanded a deposit before I could leave, which I had to sell my truck to pay for. When I got home, I discovered I also owed the ambulance $5k for the ride! I've never been able to pay the majority of these bills, and it completely ruined my credit (I was only 22). Plus, my right leg is still numb, and it's been over 10 years!"


    15. "A few months back, I went to a podiatrist because my toe nail was growing very weird, and they sent a clipping to test for any fungus. Not only did I have to pay $200 for the appointment, but then the pathology lab sent me a bill for a little over $1,000. Most expensive doctor appointment I’ve ever had for someone to say, 'There’s nothing wrong.'"


    16. "I was 19 and found a lump in my breast. I got referred for biopsy to make sure it was nothing. I called my insurance and even went where they told me. I got a bill for $1,000 for someone to stab a large needle in my boob five times on a Friday morning."

    17. "I was diagnosed with an ultra-rare spinal cord injury that was going to leave me paralyzed if left untreated. The surgery was actually twofold — they had to do a procedure before the surgery to mark the spot on my spine where they’d operate. My insurance wouldn’t cover the initial marking procedure. It was going to cost $25,000, and I had to pay before they’d do it."

    "I was able to negotiate down to $12,000 and pay by borrowing from family. I had the procedure, then had the surgery. The total cost for my surgery/meds/physical therapy would have been over $750,000 without insurance. I ended up paying another $10,000 — again borrowed from family. Thank god for insurance, because otherwise I’d be paralyzed by now. But also, fuck the privatized medical system in America that runs up the cost of absolutely everything involved with medical care."


    18. And finally, "After miscarrying and having to experience the staleness of the hospital room and transactional doctors, I thought it was the shittiest thing ever to get an $1,100 bill in the mail. It felt like, 'Here’s a fine for losing your baby; pay us.'"

    Couple holding hands at the table and looking sad

    Do you have your own story about being overcharged for healthcare? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.