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Man fights $4,600 surgery bill he was told insurance would cover

Posted at 6:00 AM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 09:20:29-05

It's not the time of year you want to be stuck with a big surprise medical bill, but Brent Cooke and his wife say it happened to them despite their planning ahead.

Brent had shoulder surgery.

He says they paid some in advance and were told their insurance would pay the rest.

After surgery, Brent says his doctor told him that stem cells were used but not to worry about the cost. They would be included and covered by insurance.

Instead, Brent says he was stuck with a $4,600 bill.

He says he spent six months working with Banner Health, this doctor and insurer, yet no one wants to take responsibility.

So he let me know.

The Let Joe Know/Better Business Bureau team took over.

Volunteer Ethel worked with the people at Banner and the others involved.

She says at first, no one thought they should have to pay the bill.

But, less than three weeks after Brent contacted us, Ethel's persistence got results.

Brent says it was the stem cell company that dropped off a check for more than $4,600.

He says he doesn't know why it came from them, and not Banner or his insurer.

But the Cookes then used that money to pay the outstanding bill.

Banner tells us "we're pleased that Mr. Cooke's procedure and treatment were successful, and that his billing matter was resolved."

Arizona law does protect consumers against some surprise medical bills.

Click here for more information on that.