If you need medical care, it’s like you’ve entered a casino, playing for your financial life, with the deck stacked against you. Lucky for us, we get insight — and tips the dealer WON’T tell you— from ace reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen.
To start with, she got an executive from a health-care company to talk honestly — maybe more honestly than he realized — about how his company and others are playing the game, when they send patients bills for huge amounts.
Here’s what else she found, when she investigated an $80,000 bill one man got: For COVID patients, including the guy in Celia’s story, lots of providers are legally required to just take what insurance gives them; once insurance pays— and once the patient has paid any co-pays or deductibles that are part of their policy — those providers aren’t allowed to chase patients for more.
Those are providers who took some of the $175 billion in bailout funds that Congress allocated in March. Don’t expect your provider to just tell you if that rule applies to your case. (That $80,000 bill did not include a footnote saying, “Once insurance pays us, you can forget all about this.”)
But if you get a bill for COVID treatment, you can make your own luck and look up the provider yourself. Because Celia found a government database where you can SEE if your provider took those funds.
We also like Celia’s Expert tip sheet for pushing back against your medical bills.
… and her first big medical-bill story— A Kansan’s $50k Medical Bill Shows That You Don’t Always Owe What You’re Charged— is packed with insight too.
NOTE: Note: When this episode was first posted, our host mis-pronounced the first name of a man who received an $80,000 bill. He is Anil Gharmalkar. The audio has been corrected.
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