Georgia boy sells lemonade to pay his own medical bills

Teddy Counihan, 11, suffered multiple fractures after being struck by a car near his home

Bevan Hurley
Monday 01 August 2022 18:08 BST
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An 11-year-old Georgia boy is selling lemonade to pay for his own medical bills after suffering severe injuries when he was hit by a car while cycling.

Teddy Counihan was left with a skull fracture and a broken leg after he was struck near his home in Locust Grove, 36 miles south of Atlanta, the day after Mother’s Day, FOX5 reported.

The injuries have required months of costly rehabilitation and surgeries, and came as Teddy was mourning the loss of his mother last October.

“It’s been a chain of events for sure, and I’m very happy he’s here with us,” his father Theodore Counihan told FOX5.

The family launched a GoFundme page to help with the medical bills in June, so far receiving around $5,800.

After Teddy was released from hospital, he came up with the idea to sell lemonade in front of their home.

“We needed to make up an idea to raise money for the hospital bills,” Teddy told FOX5.

Teddy Counihan, 11, is selling lemonade to raise funds for his medical bills
Teddy Counihan, 11, is selling lemonade to raise funds for his medical bills (FOX5)

Studies show the Counihans are far from alone – millions of Americans are finding their lives upended by surprise medical bills.

The most recent data from the US Census Bureau shows that one in five Americans are unable to pay their medical bills straight away.

Households with children under 18 (24.7 per cent) were more likely to be in debt due to healthcare bills than those without (16.5 per cent).

A separate Gallup/West Health survey conducted in March found four in 10 Americans, 112 million people, struggle to afford to pay for healthcare bills.

The cost of healthcare has been increasing at much steeper rates in recent years.

According to the American Medical Association, spending on healthcare rose by nearly 10 per cent in 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, a much steeper rise than the 4.3 per cent in the previous year.

The increasing costs is forcing Americans to resort to increasingly desperate tactics to pay for the costs.

Families have reported having to sell their home, take on second jobs and do without basics like food and heating.

Writing on Reddit, one mother reportedly forced her teenager who crashed his motorcycle to pay for his friend’s medical bills out of his college fund after he went against her rules not to take passengers and then had an accident, resulting in serious injury to the friend.

Apart from fundraising, financial planning experts say there are a few steps people can take to avoid major medical surprises.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends checking medical bills for accuracy, requesting your provider use plain language for anything that’s unclear, and asking debt collectors to specify the bill that they are collecting.

For those without health insurance, it recommends always asking for an estimate of the cost of treatment.

“Afterward, if the billed amount is $400 or more above the estimate, you may be able to dispute the charges through the patient-provider dispute resolution process,” it said.

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