Indiana parents receive $142,000 bill after their daughter was bitten on the toe by a snake at camp

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An Indiana family was charged more than $142,000 in medical bills after their daughter was bitten by a snake at summer camp.

In July 2018, Oakley Yoder, then nine, was with her fellow campers at Shawnee National Forest in Jackson Falls, Illinois, when a snake bit a toe on her right foot, reported Kaiser Health News.

Camp counselors rushed her to first responders, who suggested she be taken to the hospital via air ambulance.

Oakley was taken to St Vincent Evansville hospital in Indiana, where she was given four doses of antivenom for what doctors believe was a copperhead snake bite.

Her parents, Joe Perry and Sherri Yoder, were shocked when they received astronomically high healthcare bills, including $55,000 for the air ambulance and $67,000 for the medicine that saved their daughter’s life.  

Oakley Yoder, 10, from Bloomington, Indiana, was bitten on the toe by a copperhead snake during summer camp in July 2018. Pictured: Oakley, center, with her parents

She was airlifted to St Vincent Evansville, where she was given four vials of antivenom, and then transferred to Riley Children's Hospital for observation. Pictured: The bill for the air ambulance

She was airlifted to St Vincent Evansville, where she was given four vials of antivenom, and then transferred to Riley Children’s Hospital for observation. Pictured: The bill for the air ambulance

Her parents received medical bills for Oakley's care that totaled $142,938. Pictured: The bill for the antivenom

Her parents received medical bills for Oakley’s care that totaled $142,938. Pictured: The bill for the antivenom

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‘I was really scared,’ Oakley told Kaiser Health News about the bite. ‘I thought that I could either get paralyzed or could actually die.’

A camp counselor gave her a piggy back ride to the camp van, which drove Oakley to a parking lot, where first responders were waiting.

It was from there that she was picked up and transported to St Vincent Evansville, where she was given four vials of antivenom.

Oakley, now 10, was subsequently transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for observation, where her parents met her.  

‘It was a major comfort for me to realize: “OK, we’re getting the best care possible”,’ Perry told Kaiser Health News, after doctors told him his daughter was going to be fine.

But that comfort quickly faded to dread when bills began arriving less than 24 hours after Oakley was released from the hospital.

First, there was more than $55,500 charged for the air ambulance that transported Oakley to St Vincent Evansville hospital.

For the four vials of antivenom that hospital staff administered to the young girl, the family was charged nearly $68,000.

Bills show the hospital charged almost $17,000 for CroFab, the only medicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for copperhead bites.

However, that’s more than five times the average list price for a vial of CroFab, which goes for $3,200, according to Connecture, a consumer shopping platform for health insurance, reported Kaiser Health.

Bills included more than $55,500 charged for the air ambulance and $67,000 for the vials of antivenom. Pictured: Oakley with her mother

The family's insurance company negotiated the bills down and paid $107,800, and Oakley's parents didn't have to pay any out-of-pocket costs. Pictured: Oakley with her father

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Bills included more than $55,500 charged for the air ambulance and $67,000 for the vials of antivenom. The family’s insurance company negotiated the bills down and paid $107,800, and Oakley’s parents didn’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs. Pictured: Oakley with her mother, left, and with her father, right

Oakley's foot has since healed, although the injured toe bends slightly to the right and down. She plans on attending the same summer camp this year

Oakley’s foot has since healed, although the injured toe bends slightly to the right and down. She plans on attending the same summer camp this year

Including additional hospital and physician charges, the bill came to a grand total of $142,938. 

Dr Merrit Quarum, CEO of WellRithms, a healthcare cost-containment company, told Kaiser Health News that hospitals often upcharge the price of the drugs used. 

The family’s insurer, Indiana University, Bloomington Health Plans, was able to negotiate down the bills for the antivenom and air ambulance and paid around $107,800.  

Additionally, secondary insurance offered by the summer camp covered more than $7,200 in additional costs, reported Kaiser Health News.

This means that neither Perry nor Yoder had to pay anything in out-of-pocket costs for the incident. 

‘I know that in this country, in this system, that is a miracle,’ Oakley’s father, Perry, said.

Oakley’s foot has since healed, although the injured toe bends slightly to the right and down. 

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She told Kaiser Health News that she plans on attending the same summer camp this year.



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