New Jersey hospital bills patient $5,751 for ice pack and bandage

Jessica Pell went to the emergency room at Hoboken (N.J.) University Medical Center in October 2016 after she fainted and hit her head on a table, cutting her ear. She received an ice pack and a bandage in the ER, for which the hospital billed her $5,751, according to Vox.

Ms. Pell didn't receive a diagnosis in the ER, and she left the hospital when she learned the plastic surgeon available to see her was not in her insurance network.

"I decided to decline treatment because I can't really afford any surprise bills right now," she told Vox. "The bill I'd probably incur would not be worth saving my ear, which was sad but a choice I had to make."

Ms. Pell was shocked when she received a bill for $5,751 from the hospital.

"It's for the ice pack and the bandage," Ms. Pell told Vox. "That is the only tangible thing they could bill me for."

Ms. Pell's insurance plan paid $862 toward the bill, which left her with a balance of $4,989.

Hoboken University Medical Center, part of Jersey City, N.J.-based CarePoint Health, declined to comment to Vox about the bill but said it was reaching out to Ms. Pell "to work on a settlement/resolution to her satisfaction." Ms. Pell told Vox the hospital reversed the entire balance after Vox began asking questions about the hospital's fees, according to the report.

Ms. Pell's bill is one of many submitted to Vox's ER database project.

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