Marianne Chester believes in being proactive about her health.
“If something, God forbid, were wrong, I’d want to catch it immediately,” the single mom told us.
That’s why when her doctor recommended she get a mammogram, she did.
“He said I was absolutely healthy, just do the mammogram and you’re good to go,” Marianne says she was told.
She had the mammogram in September 2015 at UHealth in Deerfield Beach. She thought it would be covered as preventative care and says there was no talk of money when she called and made the appointment. But then - a few weeks after the test - she got a bill for $400.
“Why am I being billed for this?” she wondered. “This is supposed to be covered 100 percent.”
Marianne says she spent the next few months making calls, trying to figure out why it wasn’t covered.
“And finally, someone said to me, … ‘it was coded as diagnostic, not routine, so you owe the money,’" Marianne remembers being told.
She says she paid the bill in September of this year, to avoid hurting her credit score. Then she called NBC 6 Responds.
“I thought I’ll give it a shot,” she says. “I’ve done everything as a consumer that I can do.”
We reached out to UHealth and within days, Marianne got an explanation, saying the original order from her doctor included a diagnostic code for “family history”, even though Marianne says there is no history of breast cancer in her family.
“Someone should have looked at that prescription and said that doesn’t make sense,” Marianne says.
As a courtesy, UHealth has resubmitted Marianne’s claim to her insurance so it’ll be covered and the money she paid will be reimbursed. But Marianne can’t help but think of others who may find themselves in the same situation.
“A lot of people are going to pay the bill and say ‘I’m never going there again’ and they’re not going to get their annuals or they may wait a few years to go back,” she says.
Marianne says this won’t keep her from getting her yearly checkups. She takes good care of herself for her son.
“You don’t want your child to say when he’s 21, my mom died of breast cancer because she never went and got a mammogram,” she says.
Routine mammograms are usually fully covered by most insurance providers. If your doctor orders a screening mammogram, read the prescription. If you see something you don’t understand or you think might