There is a man from Pennsylvania out there right now who is minus an appendix, but not his hard-earned savings. He wishes to remain anonymous but says he feels like he just won the lottery. He just found out that the $43,000 hospital bill, of which he would have been responsible for about $13,000 after co-pays and deductibles, has been totally paid by his insurance company, by mistake.
"I know, I know right? Pinch me, cause I think I'm dreaming." Wishing to remain anonymous, Mortimer Sneezlewicz, definitely not his real name, says that when he realized that his appendix had to come out, like many others, he wasn't worried whether or not he'd make it through the surgery. His only concern was "how the hell am I gonna pay off this bill?" "Everyone in the hospital was so nice to me and handing me those $50 a dose pain pills and telling me everything was taken care of and to just get better and so I started to believe it, but all the while thinking, when are the vultures gonna start coming around asking for money."
Sneezlewicz continued. "I've worked hard all my life and I've carried insurance and never needed it up until now, thank God, because even after paying nearly $800 a month for me and my family to be insured, our deductible was $10,000. Hell, we never reached $10,000 in a single year and would sometimes have out-of-pocket expenses for the kids that would cost us maybe $2 or $3,000 a year, but now, man, I've reached my deductible and then some. I'm flyin' pretty high right now. Too bad they cancelled my policy."
We figured out that assuming Sneezlewicz, 34, has been paying on this policy for the past 8 years and has never reached the deductible, he has paid into the plan over $70,000 so far. Even so, the insurance company wants their money back. So far, they've been unsuccessful due to the fact that Sneezlewicz has gone into hiding. "I remember one month, I was late on my premium payment a few days, and the insurance company sent some guy out to my house and threatened to have my gas cut off (unofficially, if you know what I mean) if I didn't come up with the $800. I don't even want to know what they'd do to me and my family now that I'm into them for $13,000."
At present, Sneezlewicz and his family are uninsured and word has gotten out to the other insurance companies that he is now "uninsurable." But Sneezlewicz isn't too worried. "I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to get an insurance company to pay an entire hospital bill. One this thing dies down a bit, I'm thinking of going on the talk show circuit and from there, I may even get my own reality show."