The cost of care may be a deterrent for some women, even in jurisdictions where abortion is legal, as evidenced by the case of a New York City woman who received treatment for ectopic pregnancy and then received an enormous medical bill. Sara Laub told Kaiser Health News [KHN] that she had not anticipated her medical care to be so costly, time-consuming, or require multiple trips to the ER.
Ectopic pregnancies are uncommon and happen when a fertilised egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, perhaps in a fallopian tube. The fertilised egg “cannot survive,” and the developing tissue “may cause life-threatening haemorrhage, if left untreated,” according to the Mayo Clinic, meaning that these pregnancies “cannot proceed properly.”
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The Mayo Clinic says, “Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is expected” if a fertilised egg “continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture.” According to the Mayo Clinic, ectopic pregnancies occur about 1 in 30,000 times. Extrauterine pregnancies, on the other hand, happen more commonly in women who are undergoing fertility treatments; they account for roughly 1 in 100 pregnancies.
According to Laub, she went to the emergency room at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City where she had the option of having her fallopian tube surgically removed or receiving an injection of the cancer medication methotrexate to stop an ectopic pregnancy. Prior to ultimately needing the operation, she made five further visits to the ER after choosing the injection for additional injections and blood testing.
Laub’s 12-day medical treatment cost her a total of $80,000, with her health insurance coverage more than $4,000 of her out-of-pocket expenses. “As frightening as my experience felt at the time, I was acutely aware that I was fortunate to have easy access to treatment, and elsewhere women with my condition face much worse experiences,” Laub said in an interview with KHN, referring to states where treatment for ectopic pregnancies is delayed or prohibited as a result of laws passed after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Laub continued, “On the one hand, I feel grateful that I was able to receive treatment while I wasn’t in an urgent condition. But knowing that the choice I made on the best course of action for care comes at such a large expense is a terrible feeling. Health experts claim that the fees for the care Laub received are out of line with the actual costs, despite the fact that New York has laws protecting abortion.
According to the outlet, the hospital Laub visited generally charges $12,541 for the surgery, but she was charged $45,020 for it. WellRithms, a business that analyses medical expenses for self-funded companies, made the observation. According to the company’s estimations, doing the laparoscopic procedure will cost the hospital roughly $3,750.
According to Jordan Weintraub, the company’s vice president of claims, “Hospitals will charge anything they can.” Instead of properly invoicing the customer, they “placed the burden of denial on the payment.” The decision to treat Laub in the emergency room, which is more costly, was ultimately defended by Lenox Hill Hospital to KHN.
The hospital stated that “strict supervision and management of ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening situations, is required to achieve a successful resolution.” The emergency situation enables fast access to crucial surgical treatments, which in this patient’s instance was ultimately necessary.
A request for a response from PEOPLE was not immediately responded to by the hospital. Although they uphold abortion rights, states like New York and California currently have some of the highest average prices for abortion treatment. Treatment expenses for ectopic pregnancies differ from state to state.