Studies show that at least half of ground ambulance rides across the nation leave patients with “surprise” medical bills. And a $300-a-mile ride is not unusual. Yet federal legislation to stem what’s known as balance billing has largely ignored ambulance costs.
When a colleague brings a medical billing problem to human resources director Steve Benasso — he goes to battle. “I am a bulldog on this stuff,” he said. In this episode, Benasso tells how he does it.
A college student’s bill for outpatient knee surgery is a whopper — $96K — but the most mysterious part is a $1,167 charge from a health care provider she didn’t even know was in the operating room.
Americans who had coronavirus symptoms in March and April are getting big hospital bills — because they were not sick enough to get then-scarce COVID tests. Some insurers say they are trying to correct these bills, but patients may have to put up a fight.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.
Some large employers interpreted themselves as exempt from new federal laws that say tests for the coronavirus should be free to patients. Large academic medical centers are holding back from sending bills to these patients to avoid a backlash over surprise billing.
Politicians pledged to stop providers from charging for video appointments or telephone calls, but some patients are being charged $70 or $80 per virtual visit.
Language in the CARES Act says providers who take emergency funding cannot balance-bill coronavirus patients ― and “every patient” is considered a possible COVID-19 patient.
Hidden costs for ER visits and other fees could cost people thousands of dollars.
Most hospitals must offer free or reduced-cost care to certain patients, based on income, even if they have insurance. But some hospitals erect barriers to charity care, so it’s up to patients to advocate for themselves.