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Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

Spain
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Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

I recently had a fall whilst on vacation in the states. Stupidly (I know) i didn't have insurance. I was referred by the ski lift nurse (fell on the slopes) to the local ER with a broken hand.

Before I entered the Er I told the reception my situation. Foreigner , no insurance. I made it very very clear that before I accumulated any charges I wanted to be explained how the costing worked so that I could make an informed decision whether to go ahead and have treatment or fly back to Europe.i made it clear that I didn't know how the USA health care system worked. The receptionist told me not to worry put me into a room and told me someone would chat to me. A nurse entered and check my blood pressure. I told her I did not want treatment until I spoke to someone regarding the cost. She told me she was not allowed to talk about movey. Same happened with the physician. Finally the original receptionist enters and told me that by simply walking into that room I had acquired a bill of 350$. And predicted treatment would be $2000 +. I made the decision to refuse treatment. They then sent into the owner of the hospital to talk me into staying, I explained I would visit an urgent care centre which would be more affordable or fly home. He said he was affiliated with the urgent care centre and that it would cost more there. I explained To him that I had been led into his hospital under false pretences and that didn't feel I should pay the 350$ since I had been lied to at reception. I signed a release form left, no one asked me to pay a bill at this point. I then attended urgent care. Which of course mire affordable. The doctor there heard my ER story and told me the ER had lied to me and had taken advantage. I continued treatment with urgent care. Paid upfront. The ER had my USA contact details , email and a family members Europe address. Without contacting me directly one month later whilst I was still in the USA they sent a bill to Europe. I didn't directly relieve this since I was in the states. Today a second later came, 3 weeks after the first stating I am 30 days overdue on my payment.

I have left the USA but hope to pick back up the trip I had cut short due to my minor injury. I'm feeling stressed at the prospect of being denied entry due to this bill. I have paid my urgent care bill and feel angry at the ER for lying to me and taking advantage of my vulnerable situation . The bill is not large but principle makes me want to fight it. My question is, if I re-enter the states is it possible they hand my name to a collections agent for this amount.? I have not yet contacted the hospital since I'd like to seek advice first.

53 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

You will not be denied entry over a bill like that which is a civil matter.

Prescot, United...
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2. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

I'm not sure.

I'm also not sure this is posted in the best place to get answers? Maybe bro use the forums to see if there is somewhere more appropriate to post this.

On a side note, we were in Florida one year, when our daughter suffered a stroke ( she's fine now) she was obviously hospitalised, in fact was in ITU for a while. We had a really good insurance, thank god.

Once home, the letters kept comming, all demanding an ever increasing amount of $ $ $ $

The letters came to us at home despite having insurance, but for us, all we had to do was send them on to the insurance company. But they were very insistent that the bill was paid, and it was quite scary at times. There was no way they were going to stop the correspondence until the bill was paid, so I don't envy you!

I was going to suggest you take legal advice, but by the time you have paid the solicitor, you could have paid the bill.

I always wondered whether we would have been allowed re-entry if our insurance didn't settle.

I realise it's the principal of the matter, but for peace of mind, maybe pay the bill and learn a huge lesson! Your bill could have been so much more if you had sustained a more serious injury!

Good luck

Lynne

W Yorkshire
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3. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

An American hospital can send you enough bills to paper every room in your house.

This is a civil matter and of no legal consequences to any authority.

If you owed a bill in the UK then that would be a different matter since the NHS is a government body and you can be denied entry to the UK for an outstanding bill.

Not in the U.S. however.

Silver Spring...
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4. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

Would this change if the Hospital sued OP and obtained a judgment for the unpaid bill?

Dublin, Ireland
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for Austria
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5. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

i think that it was a very poor show of the op to go without paying a bill ! but as he was skiing, surely he did have the common sense to have travel insurance? they would pay his bill.

to go to the states without insurance is basically madness, but to then risk injury by partaking part in winter sports is utter madness

what would have happened if your fall had resulted in serious back injury or something life threatening? what would have happened if you had needed medical evacuation or repatriation?

Greer, SC
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6. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

I agree with other posts stating its a civil matter and will not affect entry into the United States.

However, I would suggest that you attempt to clear up the matter. Google queries such as "how to handle a US medical bill issue", "how to handle medical billing issues in US". There are agencies, advocates and associations that may be able to assist you. If you do not clear up the bill, the hospital can take action such as a lien. I once witnessed a co-worker have an issue with obtaining a mortgage due to a lien placed on him 18 years earlier. While I do not believe it will prevent you from entering the US, it's possible it could affect you in other ways down the road.

W Yorkshire
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7. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

WRT taking legal action, no it’ll not make one jot of difference.

That would be a civil judgement and have no weight as for entry.

Whether avoiding the bill is moral, that’s another question. The OP claims they were mislead by the hospital and contest the validity of the bill.

I think the OP was a idiot for travelling without insurance, but again that is another question again.

I think people should be barred from travel without valid insurance.

Prescot, United...
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8. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

I agree, one should not be allowed to travel without insurance. I dread to think what could happen and for UK residents, it's very affordable.

( I can recall certain package companies in the 90,s ? Insisting you took out their insurance, or provided proof of an alternative insurance, before you could book - now whatever happened to this ? Was a great idea)

It's good to hear it won't affect re-entry, but for the sake of $350 I d pay it ( principle or not) and thank my lucky stars it wasn't thousands of $

At the very least I hope the OP has learned a valuable lesson

Lynne

United Kingdom
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13 reviews
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9. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

350$ for a fractured hand sounds cheap to me just pay the bill and next time pay for insurance I feel no sympathy for you , went skiing with out insurance it could have cost so much more

thisismoney.co.uk/money/holidays/article-241…

United Kingdom
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10. Re: Unpaid ER bill . Will I have an issue reentering.

Oh just seen prices for 2013 so your quote was very cheap

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