Back in May, Mr. Nightingale had a very severe allergic reaction to a medication. He swelled up, turned red, broke out in a rash, vomited, and could barely breathe. The reaction began three minutes after he took the pill, and he was home alone at the time. After calling me at work to ask if there was anything he could do to make it stop, he dialed 911 for an ambulance. They arrived, took very good care of him at the scene, and then rushed him to the nearest hospital – he was so sick that they refused to transport him to the hospital where I work, which is across town. The folks in the ER also took great care of him, and after multiple rounds of medication and several hours in the ER, he went home and spent the next week recovering.
Now for the part that has me upset: Blue Cross paid only a fraction of the ambulance bill, leaving us saddled with the rest. Our portion of the EMS bill is more than our portion of the hospital bill! This was a genuine lifethreatening EMERGENCY, in no way an abuse of either the EMS system or our insurance, and I guess I’d just assumed that the insurance would pay all or most of it. The man was too sick to walk or talk, much less drive himself to the hospital.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that we have good health insurance and that the largest part of the day’s adventures were covered, but this bill comes at a really bad time for us, financially. Fortunately, the city is kindly letting us work out a payment plan which pretty much amounts to “pay what you can, as long as you send a little each month”.
Yeah, I know it’s not much of a rant. I just needed to vent a little.