Teen’s asthma test bill goes up almost four times in one year

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – A Midstate mother is stunned to see her son’s medical bill.

“It’s not right, and this could make or break anybody,” Lara Stammel said.

The teen’s asthma test went up almost four times in one year.

“I hoped it was a mistake,” she said.

That was Stammel’s first reaction after seeing the bill from the hospital. She contacted ABC27 News looking for answers.

She’s been taking her 19-year-old son C.J. to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Stammel says his yearly asthma test is necessary, and now her family has to shell out hundreds of dollars.

“He does a flow loop test which verifies his airways, his small airways and his large airways, to make sure the medications he is on are appropriate,” Stammel said.

C.J’s bill last year was $217. It jumped to $808 this year before insurance.

“It went up four times as much in one year with no notification, and I just can’t imagine someone else getting this bill and not being able to pay it,” Stammel said.

Stammel says she has the same insurance for the same test with the same coding. Now, she’s shelling $554.29 out of her own pocket.

“I don’t think it’s right that they raised the price as much as they did. I also don’t think it’s accurate,” Stammel said. “In my mind, all I keep thinking about is the EpiPen that used to be $100. It’s now $500 and $600 dollars. There’s no reason for it. It’s business.”

Penn State Hershey Medical Center Media Relations Specialist Scott Gilbert sent us this statement:

“The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center periodically reassesses the prices we charge for services to ensure they cover the costs associated with providing care. Through this assessment, we increase or decrease prices to align with fluctuations in our agreements with insurers as well as market trends among our university health center peers.”

The medical center has a team of financial counselors who work with patients to help them explore all available options for paying costs not covered by insurers.

Stammel says she spoke to the billing department and a patient advocate.

“I feel like I’m being taken advantage of, and I feel like I need to look elsewhere. Sadly enough, the care he gets there is fantastic,” Stammel said. “We’re not talking about numbers. We’re talking about children.”

She’s not giving up. Stammel plans to contact the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.


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