On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss how to fight unfair medical bills. They highlight how healthcare bills are complicated, non-transparent, and varied. Many patients face high bills that are simply incorrect or even predatory. Yet understanding complex and confusing bills is a huge challenge.
Terry interviews investigative journalist Marshall Allen, author of Never Pay the First Bill. Marshall has worked with patients for years and has dug into their medical bills to understand the ins and outs of medical billing. He shares his tips to empower patients to fight back against unfair charges.
He calls on patients to never pay the first bill without examining it for upcoding and errors. He recommends asking for the detailed itemized codes and then Googling these codes to see if upcoding has occurred. He also suggests going online to examine hospital price lists to ensure care is fairly priced. He argues that one patient shouldn’t be charged way more than another just based on which insurance they carry.
Bob explains how blood testing can often result in overpriced bills. Terry highlights how the Medical Loss Ratio that insurers face is driving up costs because the only way for them to profit is by raising revenues. Marshall reveals how hospital prices are showing unjustified variations that can differ by 22 times. He highlights how the system especially hurts those with rare and chronic diseases.
Kate talks with DeeAnn Dean, whose husband, Jason, received a bill for over $6,000 for just six stitches, leading her to delay her own medical care out of fear they’d incur another astronomical charge. DeeAnn explains working with Marshall to fight this bill and how overwhelming the healthcare system is. She recommends buying his book for more useful information and tips.