Monday at 10 p.m.: Out-of-network emergency visit costs thousands

Woman says visit to wrong hospital cost her thousands
Monday at 10 p.m.: Out-of-network emergency visit costs thousands
Megan Rothbauer

Megan Rothbauer died last Sept. 4 at the age of 29.

That’s what her email to me was called. The story she wants to share is not one of medical miracles, although she feels she experienced them, but instead it’s about the sheer randomness of what happened after she collapsed at work with a cardiac arrest and her heart didn’t beat on its own for 45 minutes.

The paramedics brought her to the closest hospital, St. Mary’s, for treatment. It’s the one hospital in the Madison area her Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance considers out-of-network. If she’d gone to Meriter, just three-tenths of a mile away, she’d be looking at a $1500 maximum bill instead of the $50,000 in bills she’s facing now.

What’s more? Everyone involved (Megan, consumer advocates, the insurance company and the hospital) says this could happen to any one of us.

We’ll explain Monday night on News 3 at 10.