Zuckerberg hospital slashes $20,243 ER bill to $200 after media coverage

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital will lower a patient's $20,243 emergency room bill after a Vox report revealed the hospital is out of network with all private health plans.

Five things to know:

1. In early January, Vox reported privately insured patients were being charged tens of thousands of dollars for ER services at Zuckerberg through balance billing.

2. One patient, Nina Dang, who suffered a bike accident and was transported by ambulance to the hospital's ER, was billed $20,243. Her care may have cost much less at other hospitals because Zuckerberg doesn't have any in-network contracts with private payers.

3. Following the Vox report, Zuckerberg hospital lowered Ms. Dang's bill to $200 to match her health plan's regular copayment for emergency care. In addition, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which oversees Zuckerberg hospital, will hold hearings on the hospital's billing practices.

4. Zuckerberg hospital did not tell Vox whether it will change its network policies with private payers. A hospital spokesperson told the publication in an email, "We are focused on reducing the number of people [like Ms. Dang] who could be in this predicament, through a variety of methods, including our own practices, insurance payments, and policy solutions."

5. Zuckerberg hospital — which underwent a name change after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, MD, donated $75 million to the hospital — is the city's largest public hospital and houses San Francisco's only top-tier trauma center.

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