New Jersey Consumer Faces Health Care “Perfect Storm”, Resulting in a $225,000 Bill

By Consumers for Quality Care, on March 13, 2024

New Jersey Consumer Faces Health Care “Perfect Storm”, Resulting in a $225,000 Bill

A New Jersey woman spent over six years fighting a $225,000 hospital bill for a pacemaker according to

Seiko Bando was admitted to the emergency department at Christ Hospital in 2016 when it was discovered during a routine annual exam that she immediately needed a pacemaker. The procedure went well, and she was discharged from the hospital the following day.  

Months later, Bando was shocked to receive a bill for $225,000. The bill included more than 100 itemized charges, including 54 hours of continuous “observation” at over $2,000 per hour.  

Bando, who worked hourly for a temp agency, did not qualify for Medicaid or charity care. Unfortunately she was also underinsured, covered under a junk insurance plan, specifically a “limited hospital indemnity plan” that only paid for $600 of the entire bill.  Bando’s health care “perfect storm” was intensified by a hospital known to charge extraordinarily high prices and out-of-network rates to boost profits.  

After years of Bando working to negotiate the bill down, but just hours after reached out to Christ Hospital, she was informed that her entire bill had been waived. “It took up so much of my life,” Bando said. “You spend so much time, so much energy calling people, trying to make this right. So it isn’t just relief that I feel now. It feels like my life has changed.”

CQC urges lawmakers to CQC urges lawmakers to protect consumers by putting a stop to predatory “junk plans” to do little to cover actual medical needs and to support enforcement of hospital transparency regulations so that customers can access the information they need to determine and compare health care costs.