About this iReport
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    Posted February 22, 2013 by
    Massapequa Park, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Bitter pill: The cost of health care in the U.S.

    Out of Network Nightmare


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     This iReport is part of TIME and CNN’s special report “Bitter Pill: Why medical bills are killing us.” These exact numbers are self-reported and have not been independently verified by CNN. While costs for procedures can vary widely based on the doctor, hospital, and insurance plan, these numbers are in line with average and/or typical charges.
    - rachel8, CNN iReport producer

    I was bit by a dog, and had to go to the ER for stitches. Because the wound was on my face, they told me they needed to call the plastic surgeon. The doctor arrived at the hospital, stitched up my face (24 stitches), and told me to come back to his office in four days to have them removed. Following the removal, he told me to come back again in 6 weeks so he can see how the scar was healing.

    When I returned, he said that the scar was not healing correctly, and I had the option of removing and repairing the scar which would be fully covered by insurance. I agreed, and underwent the 15 minute out-patient procedure.

    Two months later, I received a bill from the doctors office to the tune of $12,000, $4,000 of which was covered by my insurance plan. I received a second bill for the same amount of the second surgery, with the same coverage.

    Turns out the doctor was not part of my insurance, which I was not informed of during any of my visits. The services that were rendered added up to at most an hour of his time.

    I have been arguing with my insurance agent and the doctor for a year now, attempting to get increased coverage, and for the doctor to accept what my insurance company covers for a procedure of this kind. It is insane that a doctor can change this exorbitant amount, and that the insurance company can refuse to pay, essentially placing an enormous bill on the shoulder of the patient.
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