Texas hospital reduces patient's $109K balance bill to $332 after media coverage

Austin, Texas-based St. David's HealthCare resolved a patient's $108,951 balance shortly after Kaiser Health News and NPR published a story about the patient's out-of-network medical bill.

St. David's, a part of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, said it would accept $332.29 to resolve Drew Calver's bill. The hospital said Mr. Calver qualifies for a financial assistance discount.

"In a statement, the hospital said this offer was contingent on [Mr.] Calver submitting his application for a discount based on his household finances," according to KHN.

Mr. Calver went to St. David's Medical Center's emergency room April 2, 2017, after suffering a heart attack. ER physicians admitted Mr. Calver to St. David's cardiac unit. The next day, physicians placed stents in his clogged artery.

The hospital, which is out of network for Mr. Calver's Aetna health plan that he gets through his employer, charged $164,941 for the surgery. His health plan covered $55,840 of the bill, leaving Mr. Calver on the hook for $108,951 — nearly twice the amount of his yearly salary as a teacher.

At the time of publication, St. David's defended its billing practices to KHN: "While we did everything right in this particular situation, the structure of the patient's insurance plan as a narrow network product placed a large portion of the financial responsibility directly on the patient because our hospital was not in-network."

Access the full report here.

Editor's note: This article was updated Aug. 31 to reflect that St. David's lowered the bill from an originally reported $782.29 to $332.29.

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