“Understanding Medical Bills and Patient Rights: Key Strategies to Save Money”
Point 1: One in 10 adults in the U.S. carry medical debt, with nearly 11 million people owing over $2,000. Medical bills can quickly become a financial burden, which is why a medical guide has been created to help navigate bills and understand patient rights.
Elaboration: Patricia Kelmar, health care director for the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, emphasizes the importance of requesting an itemized list of services and prices to avoid confusion and potential billing mistakes. Hospitals are now required to disclose the prices of their top 300 “shoppable services,” enabling patients to negotiate their bills. The No Surprises Act grants uninsured individuals the right to request a good-faith estimate for necessary care, holding providers accountable if the final bill exceeds the initial estimate by $400 or more. For insured individuals, using in-network doctors and hospitals is crucial to minimize out-of-pocket costs.
Point 2: Understanding where your in-network urgent care center is important, even during vacations, as it ensures access to treatment without surprise medical bills. Additionally, caution should be exercised when offered credit cards in medical settings, as they often promise zero interest for a limited time but then charge high interest rates (up to 30%).
Elaboration: Kelmar advises individuals to be proactive in identifying their in-network urgent care centers for emergency situations. This knowledge can prevent unexpected expenses due to receiving care at an out-of-network facility. Furthermore, she warns Arizonans about credit cards offered in medical settings, cautioning against accepting these offers unless confident in paying off the debt within the specified timeframe.
Source: www.upr.org (1693598290)