Dr Manny's Notes

Dr. Manny: Why ObamaCare could cost you thousands in medical bills

Imagine you’re driving your car and – through no fault of your own – you get involved in an accident. The police officer comes to assist you and asks you for your papers: license, registration and insurance card.

As you comply, the police officer looks at you and says, “This insurance card expired last month.”

You look at him in disbelief and quickly call your husband or wife. You both realize that your insurance has lapsed, and you forgot to renew it. In this scary scenario, you could be facing thousands of dollars in liabilities, which unfortunately, you are responsible for paying on your own.

This hypothetical scenario should serve as a reminder: Many people receiving notifications that their insurance has been cancelled due to ObamaCare will soon be involved in similar situations.

If you find yourself in the midst of a catastrophic health emergency, or if you are in the middle of receiving active medical treatment, you might be responsible for paying the resulting medical bills out of your own pocket after receiving a cancellation notice from your insurance company.

In the health insurance business, once a person no longer has health coverage, every single medical bill from a hospital, laboratory or physician will be directed towards the individual patient.  And when you receive those bills around 30 days after your treatment, trust me, there will be sticker shock.  

Just remember, an out-of-pocket work-up for a routine heart attack – including an ER visit, cardiology consultation and possible stent placement, combined with two or three days of hospitalization – can cost an average of $150,000. Faced with this type of debt, many people may be forced to make serious sacrifices – such as selling their homes – to pay it off .

So, as we head towards this health “Armageddon,” please be aware that the federal government is leaving you high and dry. They will not be able to help you, unless you quickly end up under Medicaid or Medicare. This might protect you from some bills, but it will totally displace you from the health care system to which you are used to having access.

This tale is not meant to unnecessarily scare anyone. It is a fact. If you are worried about finding yourself in a situation similar to the one that I just described – where you are faced with the daunting threat of paying thousands of dollars in medical bills after your insurance has been cancelled –  I’d love for you to share your story with us in our comments section.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.