Big Gaps in Care and Even Bigger Medical Debts

HBI Blog / Big Gaps in Care and Even Bigger Medical Debts
Medical Debt

The movies, Dallas Buyers Club, Last Holiday, Sicko, The Rainmaker, John Q and Breaking Bad all point to one thing in common: The ugly side of the American Healthcare System. 

The United States spent about 16% of the total GDP on healthcare from 1980-2019, when compared with the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. All, but the USA has single payer (Government funded) healthcare system, which mean all cost of care is the responsibility of the Government of these countries, not their Citizens. 

If the Cost is high, is the quality any good?

Well, in theory, if America is spending so much more on healthcare then the quality of the care must be far better than the countries in the comparison. “Twist your mustache and say…On the Contrary my friend”. The United States Healthcare system performed lowest on the performance score, overall performance ranking and performance compared to spend.

Show me the Money (numbers)

Now let’s notice the impact of high costing and low performing healthcare system on the People of the United States… Drum roll… Huge Medical Debt.

According to a research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 41% of the adult American have some type of medical debt. Here is the breakdown of the research: 

  • 4 in 10 adults have currently have medical debt.
  • Parents, women and families with low income carry biggest medical debt.
  • Imaging/lab fees and emergency care are top sources of medical debt.
  • About 26% of bankruptcies are filed due to medical debt.

Okay, I get the point, Jesus!  Can I do something?

Yes, well, kinda…
 

For non-emergency situations;

  1. Don’t ignore the medical bills. Be proactive and contact the sender’s office and then contact your insurance company for accuracy of the bills. You should do this due diligence before writing the check. You will be surprised when you find the billing inaccuracies. 
  2. Contact your insurance ahead of time. Make sure the procedure/test/imaging/surgery is covered by your insurance.
  3. Act as a Self-pay Patient. If you have a high deductible insurance plan and you still owe a huge amount on your deductible, ask your doctor for a self-pay price. You will be amazed how much you can save. 

For emergency situations;

  1. For emergency situations like a visit to the ER, urgent surgeries, and life saving medical/surgical care, you don’t have time to do your due diligence. In these cases:
    1. Negotiate your final bill with the hospital.
    2. Ask for a payment plan.
    3. Check out the Resources every in our newsletter. We try and find the organizations that help with medical expense. 

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