3 On Your Side

New parents stuck with $1,127 medical bill

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Donald Degray said he was surprised to receive a $1,127 bill after the birth of his daughter Neda. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Donald Degray said he was surprised to receive a $1,127 bill after the birth of his daughter Neda. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Donald Degray can't wait for his wife and infant daughter Neda to return from an out-of-state visit with relatives. 

“This is them now back home visiting family," Degray said as he showed 3 On Your Side pictures of his wife and 8-month-old daughter.

And, although he enjoys looking at photos of the day his wife gave birth, he wasn't quite expecting their hospital bill to be so big.

"It's not fair because we have no control over it," he said.

Here's the problem: Degray’s wife specifically gave birth at Banner University Medical Center because it's considered in-network with their insurance carrier, United Healthcare. The birth was a scheduled delivery. And her doctor, who delivered their daughter, is also considered in-network.

Degray says after paying his hospital co-pay and other medical expenses, he and his wife left the hospital with their daughter thinking United Healthcare would pay any balance.

"Yep, we thought when we left there we thought we were good to go," he said. 

Well, United Healthcare paid. But eight months later, Degray says his family received a $1,127 medical bill from three doctors who are considered out-of-network.

"It's just kind of confusing. Why is it when your doctor is in-network and your hospital is in-network, then how do these doctors we've never even ever heard of pop up on our bill," he wondered.

Turns out, one out-of-network doctor assisted with the delivery of baby Neda. Another out-of-network doctor checked Neda's hearing. And, yet another doctor simply showed up the next morning and signed paperwork discharging Degray’s wife and daughter.

United Healthcare paid the doctors an in-network amount of $244 and left the remaining $1,127 out-of-network balance for Degray and his wife to pay. Degray can't believe it and says he’s not in the financial position to come up with $1,127.

"You can never plan well enough because it's out of your control."

3 On Your Side got involved and explained to United Healthcare that Degray and his wife did everything they could to make sure all hospital-related bills were paid "in-network." 

After looking into the matter, United Healthcare wrote me this email saying, "We researched this matter and the bill has been resolved. Our team has notified Mr. and Mrs. Degray that they are no longer responsible for this charge."

Degray says he's relieved United Healthcare reached that decision. He also owes it all to 3 On Your Side for helping out and getting involved.

"Yeah, I called my wife as soon as I got a chance and she was very happy," Degray said smiling. 

United Healthcare was great to work with and 3 On Your Side certainly appreciates their decision to pay the out-of-network bill.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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