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What to do with a LARGE medical bill

This could happen to anybody. It could be an unexpected trip to the Emergency Room, (example: chest pains or an elevated heart rate, that could, in the end, just be dehydration or indigestion). By the time they run all the tests, you could owe thousands.

Below are bullet points of an article from Tom Murphy of the Associated Press, that was published in the Charlotte Observer on 7/11/23 (plus some of my own thoughts). The link for this artcile is at the bottom of this post.

1. Check the numbers

-if you have health insurance, compare the bills to your insurance company's explanation of benefits. Try to avoid paying anything until you have done this. Sometimes the bill goes out before the insurance company has paid their share and sometimes the bill is not even processed through the insurance

-if there is confusion, call the billing department for the hospital or doctors office and ask for clarification

-the bills will often have medical coding which can be discussed with the billing department or looked up on the internet. Errors are frequent so it is a good idea to double check

2. Know the law (or at least that there is one that can protect you)

-The No Surprises Act was recently passed, and it's main purpose is to prevent hospitals/doctors from improperly billing higher amounts claiming that the patient used an out of network doctor. Imagine going to an in network hospital for a surgery and the hospital uses an out of network anesthesiologist for the surgery, resulting in you getting a large bill from the anesthesiologists office. This has been a sticky problem for a long time, and is now against the law.

3. Seek Outside and/or Financial Help

-There is a No Surprises Help Desk phone number for concerns or questions: 800 985 3059

-Check with your insurance company, if there is doubt that they are paying the correct amount

-The Patient Advocate Foundation might help or the hospital system may have an avenue for reduced billing

-it does not hurt to request a payment plan with the hospital or doctor's office or even a reduction of the bill if full payment is offered

Big medical bill: Attack it with a plan – and these tips


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