Woman rushed to wrong hospital during heart attack, now faces bankruptcy

Megan Rothbauer, pictured right, is facing potential bankruptcy after being taken to a hospital that didn't accept her insurance following a cardiac arrest. (Megan Rothbauer / Facebook)

One woman is facing bankruptcy after being taken to the wrong hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Megan Rothbauer, 30, a project manager out of Madison, Wisconsin suffered a cardiac arrest on September 9 of last year. The ambulance took her to St. Mary's Hospital, one that was out of her insurance network.

"I was in a coma. I couldn't very well wake up and say, 'Hey, take me to the next hospital.' It was the closet hospital to where I had my event, so naturally the ambulance took me there. No fault to them. It's unfortunate that Meriter is in network and was only three blocks away from St. Mary's," Rothbauer told WISC-TV.

The decision proved costly though, as Rothbauer is now facing $50,000 plus in bills vs. Blue Cross Blue Shield's $1,500 maximum out-of-pocket expense. According to WISC-TV, her insurance paid the hospital $156,000, 100 percent of its full in-network rate, of Rothbauer's $254,000 bill. That bill included 10 days when she was in a medically induced coma, and six days when she was in the cardiac unit. After insurance, Rothbauer was left with a total of $98,000.

Megan Rothbauer, pictured right, is facing potential bankruptcy after being taken to a hospital that didn't accept her insurance following a cardiac arrest.

Rothbauer, pictured right, with boyfriend Ben Johnsen in October 2013. The couple is considering getting second jobs or filing for bankruptcy to pay the hospital bills.

Rothbauer was able to negotiate with the hospital to have the $98,000 bill reduced by 90 percent, but still faces bills from her doctor, the ambulance, and others. According to WISC-TV, the hospital said it empathizes with Rothbauer's situation, but stated the conversation should also focus on how doctors and nurses were able to save the woman's life.

"When you're looking at saving a life, you're not looking at whether or not you can save them money," Cyn Gunnelson, manager for Managed Care Contracting for the Wisconsin region of SSM Health Care. "I can only do so much. The hospital can only do so much. And I think the best outcome is the person walked away from the emergency room."

The high costs have forced Rothbauer to put her engagement to Ben Johnsen on hold until the couple's financial situation clarifies. According to WISC-TV, Rothbauer has put in another appeal to have the costs reduced, but is also considering whether she and Johnsen may need to get second jobs, cash out their retirement accounts, or file for bankruptcy.

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