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Michigan man who had seizure on Royal Caribbean cruise forced to pay $2500 bill before evacuating

A man who had seizures aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2022 doesn’t recall exactly what happened when he fell ill, but says he won’t forget about the pricey medical bill he was handed as he was evacuated to a rescue boat.

Vincent Wasney was told that after having three seizures aboard the Independence of the Seas liner and receiving a blood test and medication, he owed more than $2,500, which had to be paid before he could disembark.

Mr Wasney, 31, told NPR he informed the crew he couldn’t pay that much, and was asked by a cruise employee, “How much can you pay?”

“Are we being held hostage at this point?” his fiancée, Sarah Eberlein, added, she told the broadcaster. “Because, obviously, if he’s had three seizures in 10 hours, it’s an issue.”

The couple had to drain their bank accounts and max out a credit card to pay for the bill, and even then they still needed another $1000 to cover the full list of services.

Vincent Wasney charged $2500 to get off cruise liner after medical incidents (GoFundMe)

They were ultimately let off the boat despite not paying for the entire bill in the moment, and the credit card was overdrafted to make up the remainder.

The Independent has contacted Royal Caribbean for comment.

Under the cruise operator’s terms and conditions, guests are required to pay in full the expenses they incurred on their trip, and Royal Caribbean doesn’t accept “land-based health insurance plans.” The company advises guests to consider travel insurance before setting sail.

Mr Wasney and Ms Eberlein had neither health insurance nor travel insurance before they boarded their Caribbean cruise.

The services onboard, as well as an additional round of doctor visits back on land, left them with thousands of dollars in medical debt.

Vincent Wasney charged $2500 to get off cruise liner after medical incidents (Royal Caribbean)

The couple was able to reduce some of their expenses, including a looming house payment, by raising $2,690 via GoFundMe, and a Florida hospital reduced their billings once it learned Mr Wasney, who had a history of seizures, was uninsured.

Approximately 14 million people, or six per cent of US adults, owe more than $1,000 in medical debt, totalling a collective $220bn, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Last year, an estimated 8.4 per cent of Americans lacked health insurance, per the CDC.


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