Eleven days after surgery on her shoulder and foot, Sherry Young of Lawton, Okla., got a letter from her insurance plan saying that it hadn’t approved her hospital stay. The letter “put me in a panic,” says Young. The $115,000-plus bill for the hospital stay was about how much Young’s home is worth, and five times her annual income.

Eleven days after surgery on her shoulder and foot, Sherry Young of Lawton, Okla., got a letter from her insurance plan saying that it hadn’t approved her hospital stay. The letter “put me in a panic,” says Young. The $115,000-plus bill for the hospital stay was about how much Young’s home is worth, and five times her annual income.