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When you need medical care, it can be a lot like entering a casino — playing for your financial life with the deck stacked against you.
But in this episode, reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen offers insight and tips no dealer will divulge. She got a health care executive to talk honestly — maybe more honestly than he realized — about how his company and others are playing the game when they send patients huge bills.
When she investigated one man’s $80,000 bill, here’s what Llopis-Jepsen found:
Providers who took some of the $175 billion in pandemic-related bailout funds that Congress authorized in March had to promise not to ding patients with surprise bills for COVID-related care. But don’t expect your provider to merely tell you if that rule applies in your case. (That $80,000 bill did not include a footnote that said, “Once insurance pays us, you can forget all about this.”)
If you get a bill for COVID treatment, you can look up the provider yourself. Llopis-Jepsen found a government database where you can see if your provider took bailout funds.
She also has a tip sheet for pushing back against your medical bills.
And this story — which shows you don’t always owe what you are charged — is packed with insight, too.
Podcast Scheduling Announcement
From here on out, look for financial self-defense lessons from “An Arm and a Leg” every two weeks, instead of occasional seasons. Because it is always a good time to learn how to stand up against unfair medical bills.
“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.
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Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.