When I gave birth to my daughter, I remember one night, totally overwhelmed and tired out of my mind, I agreed to have my daughter spend a night in the nursery. I needed a solid stretch of sleep, and I loved the nursing staff so I felt she was in good hands.
Fast forward to a month later when the hospital bill arrived from our five-night stay (35 hours of labor and c-section!), and I am staring, dumb-founded, at a bill for thousands of dollars for those 8 hours my daughter spent in the nursery. Now, I’d gladly take the sleep deprivation overpaying that insane fee that took my husband and me months to pay off.
One mom is warning others about how out-of-pocket (pun!) hospital bills can be after giving birth and to always ask hospital billing departments for an itemized list they can re-send to insurance companies.
“This is your sign to get an itemized hospital bill,” Jess Tatum begins. “I was charged for 40 tubs of witch hazel pads when I gave birth. I had one tub. I didn’t even ask for it. It was sitting in the room when I got there. They charged me over two grand!”
On the bill, Tatum shows that, according to the hospital, a pack of witch hazel pads will run a new mom about $61, and then they wrote down that she used forty packs of them.
For context, a hundred-count pack of witch hazel pads can be bought on Amazon for less than $8.
“One: bring your own witch hazel pads. Two: check your bills,” Tatum concludes.
Several other moms commiserated with Tatum’s frustration, sharing their own billing nightmares.
“With my first I was charged for 2 c sections…I had one baby…not via c section 🤦🏻♀️,” one user wrote.
“I was charged for a pregnancy test & they knew I had had a hysterectomy,” another noted.
One user shared “I got charged $75 for ‘dental instructions.’ I said what’s that? She said, ‘When they advice you to brush & floss’.”
One user said, “This happens all the time! I heard a story once of a man that would call and demand all of the product he was being charged for…get your 39 tubs! 😂”
“I was charged out of network for epidural…. They said I got it in another state,” one user wrote.
One user asked Tatum, “Do you ask for the itemized bill when you are still at the hospital or when they send you the bill later on?”
Tatum replied, “The charges posted to my account and you see like a general ‘pharmacy’ charge or what not, but then I had to call and ask for the full itemized one!”
Another person questioned, “How do you say I’m not paying that to them, or do you just not do it?”
Tatum said, “I literally said ‘I’m not paying for this’ and they said they would send it out for review so we will see what happens!”
In a follow-up video, Tatum goes into more detail about her itemized bill, showcasing some of the other costly items she was charged for that she could have easily brought from home in her hospital page including prenatal vitamins and ibuprofen.
This is all to day: health care and health insurance in the United States can be totally bonkers to understand, and you have to know your stuff just to avoid paying for other people’s mistakes. Beware!