NPR-Kaiser Health News Bill Of The Month Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced project by NPR and Kaiser Health News that investigates and explains real-life medical bills.
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Bill Of The Month

Anna Davis Abel, a graduate student studying creative writing at West Virginia University, couldn't get tested for COVID-19 until her doctor ruled out other possible illnesses. Rebecca Kiger for KHN hide caption

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Rebecca Kiger for KHN

COVID-19 Tests That Are Supposed To Be Free Can Ring Up Surprising Charges

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Michelle Kuppersmith's doctor recommended a bone marrow biopsy after suspecting she had a rare blood disorder. Though the biopsy was done by an in-network provider at an in-network hospital, Kuppersmith learned she was on the hook for $2,400 for out-of-network genetic profiling. Shelby Knowles for KHN hide caption

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Shelby Knowles for KHN

A drug implant was prescribed for an active 8-year-old girl diagnosed with central precocious puberty. The price of one option was thousands of dollars less than the other. Kristina Barker for KHN hide caption

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Kristina Barker for KHN

Hormone Blocker Sticker Shock: Kids Drug Costs 8 Times More Than One For Adults

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Joshua Bates, a technical recruiter for a staffing firm, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., was "balance billed" by an out-of-network hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Logan Cyrus for KHN hide caption

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Logan Cyrus for KHN

A $41,212 Surgery Bill Compounded A Patient's Appendicitis Pain

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When Alexa Kasdan's sore throat lingered for more than a week, she went to her doctor. The doctor sent her throat swab and blood draw to an out-of-network lab for sophisticated DNA tests, resulting in a $28,395.50 bill. Shelby Knowles for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Shelby Knowles for Kaiser Health News

For Her Head Cold, Insurer Coughed Up $25,865

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Lucy Branson, now 4, holds Polly Pocket shoes like the ones she put in her nose. Heidi de Marco/KHN hide caption

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Heidi de Marco/KHN

Nothing To Sneeze At: $2,659 Bill To Pluck Doll's Shoe From Girl's Nose

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Arline Feilen (left) and her sister, Kathy McCoy, at their mother's home in the Chicago suburbs. The biggest chunk of Feilen's bill was $16,480 for four nights in a room shared with another patient. McCoy joked that it would have been cheaper to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Alyssa Schukar for KHN hide caption

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Alyssa Schukar for KHN

A Woman's Grief Led To A Mental Health Crisis And A $21,634 Hospital Bill

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An unexpected charge related to a biopsy threatened the financial security of Brianna Snitchler and her partner. Callie Richmond for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Callie Richmond for Kaiser Health News

A Biopsy Came With An Unexpected $2,170 'Cover Charge' For The Hospital

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Before scheduling his hernia surgery, Wolfgang Balzer called the hospital, the surgeon and the anesthesiologist to get estimates for how much the procedure would cost. But when his bill came, the estimates he had obtained were wildly off. John Woike for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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John Woike for Kaiser Health News

Bill Of The Month: Estimate For Cost Of Hernia Surgery Misses The Mark

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Sovereign Valentine, a personal trainer in Plains, Mont., needs dialysis for his end-stage renal disease. When he first started dialysis treatments, Fresenius Kidney Care clinic in Missoula charged $13,867.74 per session, or about 59 times the $235 Medicare pays for a dialysis session. Tommy Martino/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Tommy Martino/Kaiser Health News

Sovereign Valentine and his wife, Jessica, wait as a dialysis machine filters his blood. Before finding a dialysis clinic in their insurance network, the Valentines were charged more than a half-million dollars for 14 weeks of treatment. Tommy Martino/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Tommy Martino/Kaiser Health News

First Came Kidney Failure. Then There Was The $540,842 Bill For Dialysis

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Liv Cannon and her fiancé, Cole Chiumento, considered calling off their wedding because of uncertainty over medical debt from her surgery. "I think about it every time I go to the mailbox," Cannon says. Julia Robinson for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Julia Robinson for Kaiser Health News

A Year After Spinal Surgery, A $94,031 Bill Feels Like A Backbreaker

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Charges for nitrous oxide during labor and delivery haven't been standardized. Courtesy of Kara Jo Prestrud, Birth Made Beautiful hide caption

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Courtesy of Kara Jo Prestrud, Birth Made Beautiful

Bill Of The Month: $4,836 Charge For Laughing Gas During Childbirth Is No Joke

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Oakley Yoder walks with her parents, Josh Perry and Shelli Yoder, outside their home in Bloomington, Ind. Chris Bergin for KHN hide caption

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Chris Bergin for KHN

Summer Bummer: A Young Camper's $142,938 Snakebite

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After a sports injury, Esteban Serrano owed $829.41 for a knee brace purchased with insurance through his doctor's office. He says he found the same kind of brace selling for less than $250 online. Paula Andalo/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Paula Andalo/Kaiser Health News

Soccer-Playing Engineer Calls Foul On Pricey Knee Brace

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Jeannette Parker, an animal-loving biologist, stopped to feed a stray cat in a rural area outside Florida's Everglades National Park. Instead of showing appreciation, the cat bit her. Angel Valentín for KHN hide caption

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Angel Valentín for KHN

Cat Bites The Hand That Feeds; Hospital Bills $48,512

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First lady Melania Trump with 10-year-old Grace Eline, a guest of President Trump at the State of the Union address Tuesday. Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. Trump cited her experience in calling for more research into childhood cancer treatments. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Austin, Texas, dentist Brad Buckingham received a bill for more than $70,000 after a bike accident landed him in the hospital and he needed emergency hip surgery. Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT hide caption

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Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

"There does seem to be across-the-board understanding that what's happening to patients right now isn't right or fair," Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said about surprise medical bills. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images hide caption

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Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Matt Gleason fainted at work after getting a flu shot, so colleagues called 911 and an ambulance took him to the ER. Eight hours later, Gleason went home with a clean bill of health. Later still he got a hefty bill that wiped out his deductible. Logan Cyrus for KHN hide caption

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Logan Cyrus for KHN

A Fainting Spell After A Flu Shot Leads To $4,692 ER Visit

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Dr. Paul Davis, whose daughter, Elizabeth Moreno, was billed $17,850 for a urine test and featured in KHN-NPR's Bill of the Month series, was among the guests invited to the White House on Wednesday to discuss surprise medical bills with President Trump. Julia Robinson for KHN hide caption

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Julia Robinson for KHN

Sarah Witter had two operations to repair bones in her lower left leg after a skiing accident last February. The second surgery was needed to replace a stabilizing plate that broke. Matt Baldelli for KHN hide caption

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Matt Baldelli for KHN