Two Friends in Texas Were Tested for Coronavirus. One Bill Was $199. The Other? $6,408.

Their tests came back with the same result — negative, allowing the trip to go ahead — but the accompanying bills were quite different.

The emergency room charged Mr. Harvey $199 in cash. Ms. LeBlanc, who paid with insurance, was charged $6,408.

“I assumed, like an idiot, it would be cheaper to use my insurance than pay cash right there,” Ms. LeBlanc said. “This is 32 times the cost of what my friend paid for the exact same thing.”

Ms. LeBlanc’s health insurer negotiated the total bill down to $1,128. The plan said she was responsible for $928 of that.

She used the information about what her friend had paid to negotiate her charges down to $199 as well. And after she reached out to a local television station, which devoted a segment to her charges, her health plan began investigating the bill.

Last Thursday, after returning from another camping trip, Ms. LeBlanc learned the bill would be dropped entirely.

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