A Georgia mother was in the process of receiving her cancer treatment when the hospital she was attending stopped taking her Christian health plan, Medi-Share, which meant she was left with $41,000 in medical bills. Ouch. That is not the kind of mail that a cancer patient already receiving care, wants to get.
Something was really wrong, here.
‘I’m sitting there, with a needle in my arm, receiving chemotherapy in my arm, and they are telling us that we are not going to be able to leave, until we pay them $41,000,’ Laura said, speaking to WSB-TV.
Laura’s husband, Nick Alley, said he was appalled because they believed they were covered by Medi-Share, a medical co-op which falls within the parameters of the Obamacare mandate for health coverage. I mean, they had already been using the co-op in that very same hospital. So what changed?
The mother-of-five found a lump on her neck just months after giving birth to the couples fifth child. She then started treatment not too long after the discovery and everything was going just fine, and being covered by her provider, but something changed this week.
Laura explained that this sudden change by the hospital came out of the blue: ‘I sat in front of them, in front of their computers, and handed them my card three or four times, and no problems whatsoever.’
Laura said that she couldn’t figure out why her healthcare provider wasn’t being accepted this time around, because they had used Medi-Share when the bill to Wellstar North Fulton after she had her fifth child.
A spokesperson for Northside Hospital told WSB-TV that they ‘never had a contract with Medi-Share. We have a contract with PHCS. Because we thought Mrs. Alley was part of the PHCS plan (PHCS did not tell us otherwise), we billed PHCS for her care. PHCS gave her bills to Medi-Share, who underpaid on our contracted rates with PHCS,’ the emailed statement read.
The spokesperson said once PHCS was contacted about the underpayment, they said Laura ‘did not have insurance with PHCS, but rather was a Medi-Share member’.
Members of Medi-Share pay in and share each other’s medical expenses, according to the company’s website. Medi-Share is not insurance, but does use an insurance network called Private Healthcare Systems to negotiate rates.
Co-ops like Medi-Share are growing in popularity because of their low rates, but they offer less legal protection.
In other words, companies like Medi-Share aren’t bound by legal contracts forcing them to pay their bills. But WSB-TV found that more than $98,000 in medical bills had been paid, or discounted before the hospital quit accepting Medi-Share.
Thankfully, the Alleys are no longer being threatened with losing Laura’s cancer care and even currently have a zero balance because Medi-Share paid the bill in advance!
Northside even sent out another statement confirming with Laura that her ‘billing issues have been resolved’, even adding that she will now be receiving care with ‘no delays, interruptions or cancellations’.
Now that is just amazing!
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