Hospital charges $67,957 for 4 vials of antivenin after snakebite: 6 things to know

The family of a 9-year-old Indiana girl bitten by a venomous snake received a medical bill totaling $142,938 that included a $67,957 charge for four vials of antivenin, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

Six things to know:

1. Last year, a suspected copperhead snake bit Oakley Yoder's toe on her right foot while she was hiking with other summer campers back to tents at Illinois' Jackson Falls.

2. The girl, now 10, was taken by air ambulance from outside the Shawnee National Forest to St. Vincent Evansville (Ind.) Hospital, part of St. Louis-based Ascension, where she received the vials of antivenin, according to the report. Oakley was then transferred to Indianapolis-based Riley Hospital for Children, part of Indiana University Health, for observation and was sent home.

3. After receiving care, total medical expenses were $142,938, including $67,957 for the four vials of antivenin called CroFab and $55,577.64 for air ambulance transport. A ground ambulance charge and additional hospital overhead and physician charges were included in the balance, reports KHN, citing information from the family's insurer, IU Health Plans.

4. CroFab — which has long held a monopoly in the U.S. snake antivenin market — has an average list price of $3,198 per vial, according to the healthcare information tech company Connecture. However, what patients pay for the drug can vary drastically based on several factors, including how many vials are needed and where the patient was treated.

5. For Oakley, St. Vincent Evansville hospital charged $16,989.25 per vial of CroFab, before insurance, according to the report. This is more than five times the average list price of CroFab. St. Vincent is not the only hospital that jacks up the price of CroFab, according to KHN. But healthcare consultant WellRithms told KHN that providers generally charge $16,159.70 for all four vials.

6. After negotiations, the family's insurer paid $44,092.87 and $55,543.20 of the antivenin and air ambulance charges, respectively, according to KHN. IU Health Plans, once additional bills were adjusted, paid a total of $107,863.33. Supplemental insurance also helped cover some costs, and Oakley's family did not have any out-of-pocket expenses for the girl's emergency care.

Access the full KHN report here.

 

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