Outrageous Hospital Bills for International Travelers: Estée’s Story and How to Negotiate Lower Costs

2023-08-12 12:42:54

Estée, a 26-year-old Belgian, traveled to the United States and had the misfortune to develop kidney stones there. Hospitalized, she was subsequently billed an amount of 51,000 dollars, or 46,000 euros.

An astronomical sum for this young woman who has mutual insurance in Belgium! But according to the Newspaperhis health insurance no longer covers medical care outside Europe since 2017.

“Things went wrong after a week. During a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I felt a strong pain. It was so bad that I couldn’t even walk. “She naturally goes to the emergency room and is then quickly taken care of by the hospital.

“I immediately said that I was not medically insured, I nevertheless received all the necessary care. I wanted to avoid as much expense as possible and asked the doctors to let me out after only three days. Then I returned to Belgium. »

Back, she rushes to the emergency room for a new 3-day hospitalization. Estée is now worried about the hospital bill and she’s right, it’s a cold shower. 46,583 euros precisely. “The hospital offered me a payment of €3,650 per month. Even that isn’t feasible for me, a 26-year-old graduate. I have only just started looking for my first job,” she sighs. “Just for the drugs, the hospital asks for 15,000 dollars (13,700 euros). »

Estée will try to negotiate a reduction in costs with the American hospital, a “common” technique, according to some. Estée wants to warn to prevent others from being in this situation.

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