How to fight like a bulldog (against bogus medical bills and insurance denials)

SEASON 4-ever – Episode 2

Steve Benasso is an HR director who, his colleagues will tell you, hates insurance companies, and hates seeing people getting taken advantage of. So he fights off weird medical bills and bogus insurance denials for those colleagues. “I am a bulldog on this stuff,” he says. “I do it every month.” In this episode, he tells us how he does it.

We met Steve reporting a Bill of the Month story for NPR and Kaiser Health News: He had gotten a letter from a “surgical assistant” giving notice that the assistant “had been present” when Steve’s daughter had knee surgery. 

Steve had written a letter right back, telling the guy to buzz off. (Which worked.)

It turned out there were two explanations for Steve’s chutzpah. 

First, as his daughter Izzy told us, “Steve is the kind of person to check every receipt twice and argue over any discrepancies he finds.” (Steve confirms this description.) 

Second, Steve had lots of experience haggling over medical bills in particular. As a human-resources director, he makes a specialty of defending his colleagues against bogus bills and unfair insurance denials.

“I am a bulldog on this stuff,” he said. “I do it every month.”

For instance, the month before, he had gotten insurance to reverse itself over a denial of a claim worth more than $10,000.  More than that, he said, “I forced our insurance company to review every out of network claim for the last three years so that I could personally look at them and make sure that this hadn’t happened before.”

We get the details of that story, how Steve became such a bulldog, and the tips he has for the rest of us. 

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