We the Patients

Woman with high medical bills

Have Insurance? Need a Heart Transplant? That will be $70K. – Joclyn Krevat, Sacramento, CA

Joclyn Krevat, author of In Sickness and in Health, wrote a memoir of her experiences after an extremely rare heart disease interrupted her life. Just a few months after her wedding, and a few weeks after running a 10K, a rare autoimmune disease landed Joclyn in the hospital (New York Presbyterian) with a failing heart. Enduring four open heart surgeries, rounds of experimental chemotherapy, a punctured lung, a lost voice, a pacemaker, an unsympathetic nurse, and too many bedpans to count, it seemed the bad news would never end.

What she didn’t expect is what came after discharge, a 70K medical bill from her surgeons.

Joclyn’s husband, a public school teacher, had great insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield and GHI), or so Joclyn thought. She went to a participating hospital; she assumed she was covered. As Joclyn put’s it, she shouldn’t have to “put a sign on her hospital room door, barring doctors outside of her network from entering.” Later she found out many of the doctors that treated her, weren’t even employed by the hospital. “As it turns out the doctors at Columbia Presbyterian don’t work for the hospital. They have formed their own company called ‘Columbia Doctors LLC’, they don’t take Blue Cross Blue Shield they bill separately. As it turns out no heart transplant surgeon in the U.S. takes GHI.”

It’s no wonder that after a mess of nurses, specialists, lab technicians and surgeons (in and out of network) walked through Joclyn’s hospital room door, she was flooded with a stream of confusing and threatening medical bills. Back at home and safely recovering after weeks in the hospital, her life turned into a “full time job and full time nightmare.” Joclyn was hit from all sides – the hospital, the providers, and her insurance company. Many of these bills were quickly put into collections. One third-party debt collector, even went as far as to add her on LinkedIn, to harass her for the bills she was so desperately trying to fight.

Watch Joclyn’s story:

Joclyn’s story helped facilitate legislative reform surrounding “surprise medical bills,” aka out-of-network bills received when a patient has done everything she possibly can to remain in-network.