Putting Americans at extreme risk of death is the menace of unexpected medical bills. Officials and experts in the field point to the fact that these unexpected costs can overwhelm the patient.
Six figure unexpected medical bills hit one bank manager who underwent a treatment in December 2013. The patient did his due diligence regarding his coverage prior to treatment but an unexpected bill from an assistant surgeon derailed everything. In this case the patient had done his homework but the additional fees from the assistant surgeon came as quite a surprise placing the man in jeopardy. His insurance group was to protect him for any out of network costs citing that he was not at fault here and they had paid the sum. Of surprise was that the assistant surgeon’s attorney threatened to sue if the patient did not send the check paid out by the insurance company. The patient had hoped to barter with the surgeon for a lower cost thus saving money. It didn’t work.
These scenarios of unexpected bills are almost unavoidable. Even people who are policy savvy can find themselves in the quagmire of unexpected medical bills as not all is transparent from the hospital.
The caveat comes in the form of those forms one has to sign at the hospital in order to get treatment in the first place. There one is suffering from some malady, probably life threatening, painful, and a nurse or hospital administrator shoves a form in one’s face which one has to sign or suffer the consequences. These forms however, contain wording committing the patient to pay for just about everything the hospital does or may do including adding additional staff to do a service, medication, procedures that one was not expecting and was unaware of. This is where the wildcards come in and people then end up staring at bills they not only didn’t expect but put a strain on insurance company relationships.
Even the top experts agree that the medical system in the United States is of such complexity that it boggles the minds of professionals themselves. If the experts can’t figure out the medical system how is the average person supposed to?
Lawmakers have been slack in addressing this issue and for good reason. Everyone seems to be making money off the medical industry and putting ethics and standards into it would mean that easy money flow would get cut off or weakened. No officials yet have succeeded in passing laws for comprehensive overhaul of the medical industry’s practices and unless the people themselves rise up it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.