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Valley couple facing hospital billing nightmare

Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 18:38:05-05
Seconds count during an medical emergency. One couple is left counting on Contact 13 after an E.R. billing nightmare. It's a lesson that can save you thousands of dollars and months of frustration.
 
"I woke up and my chest was pounding," says Anita Grace.
 
It's a day she'll never forget.
 
"It was scary because you're thinking all of a sudden you know, you're gonna die," says Anita.
 
It was last January when her husband Jim raced her over to Centennial Hills Emergency Room.
 
Doctors diagnosed Anita with an irregular heartbeat, and congestive heart failure. She was released the next day. A couple weeks later, Jim called 911.
 
"She had to go back because she was experiencing those same symptoms again," says Anita.
 
She spent another night in the hospital. But it doesn't end there.
 
"I was shopping and then I just felt really weird. Light headed, dizzy, like I was going to pass out," says Anita.
 
She was rushed to the E.R. for a third time. It was during that visit late last February, when doctors adjusted her medication. Anita hasn't been to the hospital since, but her real fight was just beginning.
 
"We received the bill and I was in shock. It was like, you're in for just a few hours, and it's almost $4,300," says Anita.
 
Her health care provider Aetna paid the first 2 hospital bills. Now it seemed like they weren't covering her last visit.
 
So Jim picked up the phone.
 
"When we called Aetna they said yes, that's no problem, there's a mistake. We'll take care of that," says Jim.
 
Months went by and nothing changed. They called Aetna countless times and were promised the bill would be covered.
 
"You know you've told me over and over again that you would pay the bill. So why don't you pay the bill?" says Anita.
 
Fed up and with no where else to turn, Anita and Jim reached out to Contact 13. After we spoke with Aetna, the health care company looked into the case and took care of it. Anita and Jim's balance has been wiped clean. But Anita admits, she's afraid of facing another bill if there's another emergency.
 
"I'm scared now to go to the E.R.," says Anita.
 
We reached out to Centennial Hills, but were told they didn't care to comment about Anita's case.
 
To avoid your own billing headache, it's important to have an emergency plan in place. Make sure you know what hospitals, and which doctors, accept your insurance.
 
To file complaint with your insurance, click here
 
To file a complaint with a Nevada hospital, click here.