3 On Your Side

Phoenix woman billed $300 for $30 brace

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(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)
(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)

Linda Esser does quite a bit of heavy lifting. Between hefting textbooks at home and office files at work, Esser said her wrists endure an unusual amount of strain. That strain has taken its toll.

"There was a time there when I couldn't lift hardly anything," Esser said. "I would have to use my other hand."

When movement eventually became painful, Esser went to an urgent-care facility. The doctor there gave her a simple-looking wrist brace to wear for relief.

Esser said she thought her health insurance would cover at least part of the cost for the brace.

Even if her insurance didn't cover it, Esser wasn't worried.  She did not think a basic brace could be too expensive.
Nearly six months after getting that brace, Esser said she learned her insurance company would not pay for the brace. She was being required to foot the bill, and it wasn't a small bill.

"Never in my life did I think it would cost this much and I'm being charged for it," she said.

The company that manufactures the brace is called Breg. It wanted Esser to pay $300.

Shocked, Esser went online to do some research. It wasn't long before she found a Breg wrist brace identical to hers for sale on Amazon and other sites for less than $30.

Esser contacted Breg to find out why she was being charged $300 when the same brace could be found for a fraction of that price. 

"I called the company up, and they told me they could reduce the amount owed by $40 and could make it $260, and I'm like, there's not much difference there at all," she explained to 3 On Your Side.

Esser questioned why she would pay $260 when the same brace is less than $30 on various websites.

She contacted 3 On Your Side and we contacted Breg.

A representative looked into the matter and in an email stated, "... as a matter of goodwill, we have adjusted your (Esser's) balance to $0."

That means Esser can forget about that $300 bill; she won't have to pay anything.

Esser said she couldn't have done it without 3 On Your Side. 

"Well, when I got the bill for $300, I was like 'This is ridiculous.  I can't afford that.'  I did not have that kind of money," she said. "And in the end, it was a huge relief and a weight off my shoulders.  I can breathe easier now."

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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