New mom hit with surprise $10,000 bill for baby’s hospital stay

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KOVR/CNN) - Insurance company United Healthcare has apologized after processing a new mother’s insurance claim incorrectly, leading to a charge of $10,000 for her newborn’s hospital room and board.

After her daughter, Lainey, was born, Kelly Walls had to fight her insurance carrier, United Healthcare, over a $10,000 bill for the baby's two-day hospital stay. (Source: KOVR/CNN)

After her daughter, Lainey, was born, Kelly Walls had to fight her insurance carrier over a large bill. United Healthcare covered the majority of her delivery and hospital stay, but it claimed she owed more than $10,000 for her little girl’s two days in the hospital.

“It's not how I want to spend my time at all,” Kelly Walls said. “It's frustrating, and I feel like it's wrong for a new mom to have to fight their health insurance.”

Consumer insurance advocate Emily Rogan says Walls’ insurance company should have known better. A newborn is covered under their mother’s policy for the first 30 days of life.

“I’m so frustrated when I hear that,” Rogan said. “That is a world away from what a new mom really should be thinking about.”

Once contacted about the bill, United Healthcare admitted to processing Walls’ claim incorrectly. The mother now only owes a co-pay.

“We apologize for the errors in handling Ms. Walls’ claims for her daughter’s hospital stay and have paid the claims according to Ms. Walls’ benefits plan,” said the company in a statement.

With the bill wiped out, Walls now has more time to focus on her family.

“That’s a huge relief that it’s taken care of,” Walls said.

Experts advise that to ensure there are no surprises on your hospital bill, you might want to call your insurance company before a procedure and ask for confirmation on what’s covered.

Copyright 2020 KOVR, Kelly Walls via CNN. All rights reserved.