Buckeye family billed for something they say insurance should cover

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Little Bryton Neil is a normal, happy baby boy. He was born a little more than a year ago at Banner Estrella Medical Center in the West Valley.

“There was a lot of anticipation,” father James Neil said. “We painted his bedroom and did all sorts of things for him.”

Neil and mom Tiloni say all their preparations paid off because everything about the birth seemed to have gone smoothly. That is until months later when they received a bill stating they owed the hospital nearly $2,200.

“We called the insurance and asked them why they haven't paid it and they said it was because the hospital diagnosed him as being significantly abnormal,” Neil explained.

Significantly abnormal? Neil said his little boy was born without any complications and couldn't be healthier.

“What's wrong with our baby that we don't know about, and why aren't we getting help for it?” he wondered. “What's going on?”

Nothing, according to a pediatrician who examined Bryton but found him happy and healthy. So why are the Neils being billed $2,200?

Neil said he tried explaining to the hospital and AETNA, their insurance company, that Bryton hadn't received any extra treatment or care.

Their pediatrician even wrote a letter stating there was nothing “unusual” about Bryton's birth.

Still, Neil said neither side would budge, so he emailed 3 On Your Side.

“We've been back and forth with the hospital and insurance," he said. "The insurance said they were going to call the hospital to get it changed. They came back and said they couldn't change it and we've just been back and forth with these people.”

3 On Your Side contacted Banner Estrella Medical Center, which explained notes found in Bryton's medical file caused his insurance claim to be automatically upgraded from a basic birth to something more complicated. AETNA didn’t cover the medical code that came along with the more serious diagnosis.

But after 3 On Your Side got involved, AETNA had a change of heart and agreed to pay the $2,200 bill. With all this behind them, Neil says their focus can now be on baby number two.

“Glad I emailed 3 On Your Side and I'm glad for the outcome, at this point,” Neil said.

We were never able to find out from the hospital what those notes in Bryton's medical file were. But, the Neils believe they were billed because they declined getting their baby vaccinated at the time of birth.