On November 17, 2016, a bat flew into Ally McNamee’s mouth.
At the time, McNamee was a student at Keene State College in New Hampshire. A bat flew into her house, and she attempted to shoo it away with a broom, assuming the bat would retreat. It did not.
“It flew at my face, and I screamed,” McNamee says. “My mouth was open. I definitely caught a wing.”
When she woke up the next day, she started to worry about rabies. She went to the local urgent care center, which sent her to the emergency room. It was the only facility that stocked the drugs necessary to treat rabies, a situation that is typical across the United States.
A few weeks later, the bill arrived: $6,017. The vast majority of the charge was for a drug to treat rabies exposure called immunoglobulin. The emergency room billed this drug at $3,706.
And it turns out McNamee’s bill was actually at the low end of what hospitals charge for the drug in the United States, which can sometimes be closer to $10,000.
Vox learned of McNamee’s bat incident during a running, months-long investigation into emergency room costs. Readers from across the country …