3 On Your Side

Tolleson woman says hospital made mistake inputting insurance information

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Erika Reyes (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Erika Reyes (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

A Tolleson woman who went to an emergency room finds herself responsible for the entire bill even though she has insurance.

The bill is right around $1,500 and even though she says she paid her portion of the bill and expected her insurance company to pay the rest, it was still sent to collections.

It happened nearly two years ago when Erika Reyes says she didn't feel quite right and laid down on her couch, but she says it feels like yesterday.

"I got an anxiety attack because I thought something was in my throat," Reyes said.

Thinking something was lodged in her throat, she panicked and said she was unable to breathe.

"Well, I was like really shaky. I couldn't calm down. I couldn't drink water," she said.

So, Reyes had a friend take to her to the emergency room at Banner Estrella Medical Center. Once in the ER, she checked herself in, handed over her insurance card and paid her co-pay.

"I'm like, OK, I have insurance so everything will be fine, you know?" Reyes said.

After a few hours, she was released from the hospital. But weeks later when she went to her mailbox, she found a bill from Banner Estrella Medical Center and the amount was not what she was expecting. It said she owed more than $1,500.

Her reaction?

"Shocked, scared because I don't have that kind of money," Reyes said.

Thinking a large portion of that bill should have been paid by her insurance company, Reyes said she went straight to Banner's billing department, sat down with a billing agent and handed over her insurance card again to find out what happened.

"She asked me for my insurance card and as she was putting in the number that's when she said, 'Oh, we missed a number,'" Reyes said.

A missing digit might explain why on one of Reyes' bills, it said "CLAIM DENIED. PATIENT CAN'T BE IDENTIFIED."

Thinking the problem had been resolved now with the right numbers inputted, Reyes said she didn't think about the issue for nearly two years. That is, until recently, when she went to her mailbox and found out a collection agency was after her for that $1,574.90 bill.

So, she contacted 3 On Your Side.

"I don't know where else to go," Reyes said. "I have no idea what to do anymore. I've tired of all this."

3 On Your Side reached out to Banner Estrella Medical Center and asked them to look into the issue for us and they agreed. If they find an error was made, they'll correct it. When I hear back from them, 3 On Your Side will air an update.

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