Mother warns others after insurance mistake put her family’s hea - KCTV5

Mother warns others after insurance mistake put her family’s health at risk

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"I called all of the doctors that were in-network in our plan and every single orthopedic doctor turned us away," said Mattern. "Every single one in our plan and said they can’t treat him because he is a child." (KCTV5) "I called all of the doctors that were in-network in our plan and every single orthopedic doctor turned us away," said Mattern. "Every single one in our plan and said they can’t treat him because he is a child." (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

On Dec. 17, 2016 Ben Mattern and his little brother knew what the freezing forecast would mean the following day.

"Playing with friends, sledding, enjoying the sunshine after the ice storm," said Kristy Mattern, Ben's mother.

But the next day things didn’t pan out that way. A slip on the ice took a very painful turn.

When Ben tries to remember that day, he says everything happened so fast. His mother knew right away that her son's arm was broken.

After checking with both of her in-network hospitals, Mattern says neither had the right doctors for Ben.

She knew she’d have to go out-of-network and went Children’s Mercy Hospital where doctors reset Ben’s arm in the emergency room. But when Mattern tried scheduling a follow-up appointment within her network, she says she ran into problems.

"I called all of the doctors that were in-network in our plan and every single orthopedic doctor turned us away," said Mattern. "Every single one in our plan and said they can’t treat him because he is a child."

As a parent, Mattern says there’s no price on seeing your children healthy. So she decided to go out-of-network again but says she ran into a different problem.

"The social worker at the hospital told us to cancel the appointment and to not come back until we get different insurance," Mattern said.

KCTV5 News reached out to Children’s Mercy Hospital and, through a statement, a spokesperson said in part, "due to patient privacy laws, we can’t discuss details. but we can assure you that children’s mercy has a number of professionals - social workers ... who support our patients and families.”

Mattern says after begging, a doctor at a different hospital agreed to monitor Ben’s progress with a disclaimer that he would not get involved if there was a complication.

She says her frustration wasn’t with the hospital, she says it was with her insurance.

"I feel like Blue Cross Blue Shield when they sold us that policy for a child that they knew those hospitals in-network couldn’t treat my child if he were to break a bone," Mattern said.

A spokesperson with Blue Cross Blue Shield said they couldn’t discuss Mattern's case because of privacy protection but did say, “we work to educate members on network composition before they select their coverage.”

As Mattern deals with a bill worth thousands of dollars, she hopes her story will help others.

"That’s why I felt like it was important for us to tell other families in Kansas City that if you have a plan that puts Children’s Mercy out-of-network, you’re going to end up in a situation if your child breaks a bone," she said.

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