Jamie Hansen might be on record for one of the shortest round trips from Clark County to Canada.
The 53-year-old La Center resident in July drove 10 hours to Canada, grabbed her son Ryan from band camp, and then left the next day. Ryan, 15, was experiencing bad hip pain and labored breathing. He was having trouble just moving around. Hansen already had passports ready from a previous trip.
“When I’m crossing the border, it was funny because they’re like, ‘What are you here for?’ I’m like, ‘I’m here to pick up my son.’ ‘How long will you stay?’ ‘A couple hours. I’ll be back through tomorrow morning,’ ” Hansen joked.
The drive to Canada was just the beginning of a longer, more involved and potentially cripplingly expensive medical surprise. Ryan would get care and recover from what were infections. But it turned out the care wasn’t covered by Hansen’s insurance. The family would later be hit with a nearly $100,000 medical bill for what amounted to about a weeklong stay in the hospital, with four days in a pediatric intensive care unit.
What happened to Jamie Hansen is referred to as “balance billing,” when a patient is saddled with costs from an out-of-network provider or facility that isn’t fully reimbursed by their insurance company. Situations like Hansen’s have caught the attention of Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who has proposed legislation aimed at stopping the practice.