‘An Arm And A Leg’: Can They Freaking Do That?!?

Dan Weissmann

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A lady will get a invoice from a medical testing lab she’s by no means heard of, for $35. Not lengthy after, a follow-up invoice arrives. This one says if she doesn’t pay instantly, the value goes up — means up ― to just about $1,300.

This raises a query that comes up loads with medical billing: Can they freaking do this?!?

On this episode, we go discover out. And, the hunt takes us down two paths on the lookout for solutions.

One: Into the world of shock medical payments.

Two: The land of crazy-high late charges.

Surprise Bills

That unique $35 invoice is what’s referred to as a “surprise bill.” Patients typically get waylaid by these payments when a supplier that’s lined by your insurance coverage — just like the clinic this lady visited — farms out some a part of your well being care to a supplier — like a lab — that’s not in your insurance coverage community and units its personal charges.

Can the lab do this?!? Just ship its personal invoice for no matter fee it desires?

The reply is: Some states have handed legal guidelines to guard customers from shock billing, however in a lot of locations persons are left on the hook to pay. So Congress has been seeking to create federal-level protections with assist from each Democrats and Republicans. And now, on the finish of the 12 months, the laws is displaying indicators of motion.

Late Fees

That $35 invoice raises one other query: Can medical labs impose a “late fee” of greater than a thousand dollars on a $35 cost?

The reply is: They can attempt. And a variety of the time, they’ll get away with it.

But we discovered consultants who clarify the right way to struggle again. If you’ve obtained the time and the moxie, you could possibly get the opposite facet to simply accept a good provide. Easier stated than achieved — and extra work than anyone ought to should do — however you’ve obtained the legislation in your facet.

So, pay attention up, and get psyched. And mad.

Season three is a co-production of Kaiser Health News and Public Road Productions.

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