When you’re recovering from surgery, the last thing you want is to be blindsided by an unexpected bill for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars because the hospital hired an out-of-network anesthesiologist or other specialist without telling you. Unfortunately, this type of surprise medical bill has become an unwelcome reality for nearly 30% of privately insured Americans. California lawmakers have just cleared a major hurdle in their goal of enacting a law that would protect consumers from unforeseen and often unavoidable medical charges. [More]
When you visit your doctor for a blood test, get an ultrasound, or have surgery at a medical facility that accepts your insurance, you likely expect that you’ll only be required to go out-of-pocket for the co-pays and deductibles detailed in your health plan. But the results of a new survey show that there’s a decent chance you’ll be hit with a surprise charge or two when those medical bills finally arrive. [More]
CareCredit is a medical financing service operated by the folks at GE Capital. For almost all of its 4 million customers, CareCredit is a deferred interest loan, meaning cardholders who don’t pay off their balances in full by the end of the initial promotional period are hit with all of the interest that had been accruing during those months. That would be fine (and is quite common in retail credit cards), if the company hadn’t misled consumers into thinking CareCredit was an entirely interest-free product. [More]
No one questions the life-saving service that ambulances provide, or the expense of keeping teams of life-saving professionals on call 24 hours a day. One Tennessee man was horrified when he paid almost $800 for an ambulance to fetch him from his third-floor apartment and take him to the hospital when he hurt his back. He didn’t need life support: he would have done just fine with an elevator and a taxi. [More]
Phil Villarreal, a familiar face to Consumerist readers, recently welcomed a new baby into his family. Almost as exciting to him as the creation of new life and the addition to his adorable brood was the opportunity to play hardball with the hospital regarding the bill. He had to pay a substantial part of it, see, but had a proposition for the hospital. If he paid it all right that very moment in full, he knew that he would get a discount. Only navigating the hospital’s administrative structure stood in his way. [More]
When you open up a medical bill your’e usually not stunned by how little the doctor is charging you. Inflated charges, which seem to be the norm in the industry, would be laughable if their implications weren’t so crushing. But an invoice doesn’t have to be the amount you end up paying. [More]
Right now, any medical debt that gets sent to a collections agency can remain on your credit report for up to seven years, even after it’s been paid off. This ding on your credit score can be the difference between qualifying for a loan or being denied. That’s why the House Committee on Financial Services is looking at a bill that would erase some paid medical debts from folks’ credit reports. [More]
The New York Times Bucks blog talks up a medical bill negotiation tactic that saves people who are in the know thousands of dollars. The secret: Pick up the phone and ask the billing department guy how much he’ll take off your bill if you pay in full immediately. [More]
$10 copays are history in some doctor’s offices these days, as some clinics are requiring the entire out-of -pocket cost up front. But what if you get overcharged?
Americans are choosing plastic over paper when it comes to paying off the nearly $300 billion they rack up annually in medical charges — the leading cause of bankruptcy — every year, CNNMoney.com reported earlier this month.
Getting into debt is easy. Winding up in default is easier yet; all you have to do is not pay your bills for several months! So how do you deal when the lender doesn’t want to wait around for you any longer and has moved on to more drastic action? Here’s three ways, only two of which are advisable.
AIG needs its money for its own problems, people, and doesn’t want to have to share with insurance claimants! That’s why they’ve fought every request from John Woodson, a man who lost a leg, an eye, and 70% of the vision in the remaining eye while working as a contractor in Iraq. He told ABC News, “You constantly are worried about who is going to pay these bills, who is going to take care of me? Because you can’t rely on AIG to come through for you. I don’t understand how a company of their size and their magnitude, with government bailouts and money and support, I don’t understand their not taking care of the individuals that were injured.”
Meet Gregg and Brittiny Peters. They’ve had a pretty terrible year. Two of their children were diagnosed with costly medical disorders, and as the bills began to mount, they decided to start over by selling all their worldly possessions on eBay. Enter Donnia and Keith Blair, who upon learning of the Peters’ plight, bid $20,000 and won the auction. Here’s the catch: the Blair’s are willing to pay, but they don’t want to take any of the Peters’ things. This has apparently infuriated the Peters.