The Madness Of American Medical Billing, In One Woman’s Tweets

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For those who live in Canada, it’s hard to really understand the madness that is America’s medical billing. But one woman has done a great job in showing just how frustrating it really is. Aminatou Sow decided to give everyone a taste of what it’s like by telling her story on Twitter.

Sow had scheduled surgery for quite some time. Suddenly, Sow got an unexpected phone call: the hospital wanted her to pay her share of the medical bill prior to the operation taking place. She had a $4,000 deductible and the hospital asked for the entire amount upfront.

The representative of the hospital asked Sow to provide them with her credit card number so that they can charge her. Sow is a host of the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend” and she recounted her entire experience on Twitter. It really gives you a better understanding of the madness of American medical billing.

She started out her tweet writing, “Case in point: I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning. It’s been on the books for weeks. I’ve gone through extensive pre-testing and have followed up with the hospital every step of the way.” Sounds like she was well prepared for this surgery, including the money aspect of it.

Sow continued, “Typically you get a call the day before surgery to confirm what time you’re supposed to show up. NBD. Talked to the surgical coordinator. Got my check-in time. I asked if all my paperwork was in order. Before that, I was in touch with my insurance. Yup, all good”.

According to, the hospital had warned Sow that if she didn’t pay the money upfront, then she couldn’t get the surgery done. Sow expected to pay the deductible this year.

She knew that her surgery was coming up and that it was pretty expensive. She had no clue that the hospital would call her 18 hours before her surgery asking her to pay upfront.

She also wrote on her Twitter, “Every step of the way I have asked the hospital and the insurance company if everything is in order because I’m a black woman and I don’t trust nobody to save me. Nobody said a peep about paying the deductible upfront. Also, this is so mercenary. Pay or no care for you”.

Luckily, Sow is perfectly capable of paying the amount that is required of her. But the situation, in general, is frustrating. She noted in her tweet how sick it makes her feel knowing that there are people out there who simply wouldn’t be able to pay this amount.

This experience is not unique to Sow. It’s actually a pretty common one in the American healthcare system. According to, more and more doctors are asking their patients to prepay their medical costs.

Madness Of American Medical BillingTWITTER @AMINATOU

Sow mentioned in her Tweet, “I calmly ask her to walk me through the regulations that stipulate this. I understand why hospitals want to be paid upfront but it is disgusting to do it this way and withhold care from people who need it”. A heads up would have been nice, like a month prior rather than 18 hours prior to surgery.

Madness Of American Medical

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