Woman receives $3,500 ambulance bill after giving birth in hospital parking lot

After Katie Moraida gave birth to son Sawyer in a hospital parking lot, she received two separate bills exceeding $3,500 for an ambulance ride to the hospital door.

When Ms. Moraida's water broke a week early, her husband rushed her to Sutter Roseville (Calif.) Hospital. She delivered the baby in the hospital parking lot.

Roseville police witnessed the delivery and called paramedics, who cut the umbilical cord and escorted Ms. Moraida and her son a few hundred yards via ambulance to the hospital door.

The Moraidas received two separate bills, one for Ms. Moraida and one for her son. Insurance covered Ms. Moraida's portion of the bill, but not the baby's, due to the way ambulance operator AMR coded the visit.

Mr. Moraida said the charges did not reflect "even a full ambulance ride." She told EMS1, "We had already done the hard part, delivered our child in the front seat of our car."

Consumer advocate Amy Bach with the United Policyholders said coding is a common issue with insurance, forcing families like the Moraidas to pay more than expected. Ms. Bach is pushing for a federal law that would give families six months to resolve coding issues with insurers before being sent to collections.

Ten months after Sawyer was born, the Moraida's insurance company acknowledged their mistake and agreed to cover most of the baby's ambulance bill.

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