When Rachel Stamatyades got a bill for more than $3,200 after a trip to the emergency room, she was overwhelmed.
“It feels like a waste of money,” she told NBC 6 Responds back in 2016.
The bill for the hour she says she spent at a local emergency room included a $60 charge for ibuprofen and left her questioning why she had been charged so much. NBC 6 Responds helped reduce her bill by a few hundred dollars after calling the hospital.
“Most people believe that the bill is what they owe,” said Michael Walrath, a Miami attorney who helps patients fight exorbitant medical bills.
According to Walrath, Florida law says patients only owe the reasonable value of the care they receive, which “…is much, much less than the full bill charges in every case I’ve ever seen in the past 10 years.”
“A hospital will have a very tough time proving in court that the reasonable value of an aspirin is $50 when we all know it isn’t,” Walrath added.
If you get a bill that you feel is too high, Walrath recommends disputing it in writing as soon as you get it.
He also said it’s important to dispute the bill before you start a payment plan.
“Once you start making payments on a bill, you’ve agreed to a full amount, legally speaking, so you can no longer challenge the bill as unreasonable,” Walrath said. “You can be making a very small payment a month, miss that payment and suddenly they would come after you for the full amount and they would get a judgment for that full amount because you’ve agreed to it.”