HEALTHY LIVING
01/31/2014 03:34 pm ET Updated Jan 31, 2014

Eric Ferguson Charged More Than $89,000 By Hospital For Snake Bite Anti-Venom Treatment

Courtesy Eric Ferguson

Eric Ferguson got bitten by a snake. Then health care costs sank their teeth into him.

A North Carolina hospital charged a stunned Ferguson $89,227 for anti-venom medicine and an 18-hour stay, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Ferguson, 54, of Mooresville, was taking out the garbage when a snake attacked his foot. He was treated with four vials of anti-venom that accounted for $81,000 of the tab, according to the Observer. He said he found the medication for $750 online.

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center explained in the article that it has to charge higher prices to compensate for discounts it gives insurance companies. In a deal with Ferguson's insurer, the hospital cut the bill to $20,227, with Ferguson paying $5,400 out of pocket. Ferguson emphasized he received great treatment after the August 2013 incident, but "it was just the sticker shock," he said to the newspaper.

In another case of scary emergency care prices, a 22-year-old man from Sacramento, Calif., recently posted a $55,000 hospital bill for his appendectomy on social media, CBS reported. "I never truly understood how much healthcare in the US costs until I got Appendicitis in October," Nick Gonzales wrote on Reddit. "I'm a 20 year old guy. Thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the US."

A government report from 2013 shows just how out-of-hand pricing can be. For the same procedure, hospital costs can vary by more than $200,000, another CBS report pointed out.

h/t Time

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