Knee brace causes financial pain

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PHOENIX -- Jerry Johnson is proud of his son Ryan and enjoys watching him play football.

"I've been playing since I was nine," said Ryan Johnson. "I don't know what I love so much about it, but I just love it."

But while playing the game he loved, something happened.

"We were doing tackling drills," Ryan said. "And I was getting tackled. A big linebacker hit me and my foot stayed stationary, but my knee twisted. It felt like something had ripped."

Jerry took his son to the emergency room, where doctors put his son in a knee brace.

"The nurse came out with a brace and handed it to Ryan," Jerry said. "He put it on and we left."

The ER gave Ryan a brace that wasn't worn often because the teenager eventually underwent surgery.  Regardless, the knee brace came with a big price tag.

"I received a bill from a company called Hanger," Jerry said. "It was $865.00 for a neoprene knee brace."

Jerry thought the bill was a mistake, particularly since he saw a similar brace at a drug store for only $30.00.

He called the company that provided the knee brace, but they told him, that's how much they charge.

"I just can't pay you $865.00 for a $30.00 knee brace," Jerry said. "I just can't do it. So they threatened to send me to collections."

3 On Your Side contacted the company. They acknowledged the price did seem a bit high, but maintain they don't determine the price. They claim when insurance coverage is involved, the price is determined by specific "billing codes."

However, after reviewing the matter, they agreed to work something out with Jerry and just charge him a self-pay amount of $80.00. Jerry is happy about that and said that sounds more reasonable.