In our continuing focus on surprise medical bills, a new story: A surprise $4,727 medical bill, this one that resulted in a surprise lien on the patient’s home (see video).
NBC News reports: “When Nicole Briggs felt intense stomach pain one night three years ago, she went to a freestanding ER near her home in the Denver suburbs. She was diagnosed with appendicitis and told she needed surgery as soon as possible.”
For more on Surprise Medical Bills, see:
- Podcast: Sen. Maggie Hassan Discusses ‘No More Surprise Medical Bills Act’
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- Surprise Medical Bills May Be Curbed as Lawmakers Seek Deal
“She rushed to a nearby hospital, Swedish Medical Center — but first called ahead to make sure it took her insurance.”
However, as we’ve seen in other stories, the surgeon worked independently and didn’t take her insurance. Says NBC: “She declined to pay the bill. Two years later, a collection agency slapped a lien on her home, which would block her ability to sell her house until she paid off the debt.”
Said Dr. Ashish Jha, a health policy professor at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health: “I find this really unconscionable. This is really a failure of our system to stick people with these kinds of bills that really have no justification whatsoever.”
NBC outlines what could come next politically: “On the national level, there is agreement from all parties involved, including the American Hospital Association and the lead insurance industry trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans, on the need for a federal fix.”
“And there’s widespread bipartisan support to do just that. Three bills are currently circulating in Congress, all aiming to put an end to surprise medical billing through different approaches.”
“A draft bill in the works would ban balance billing, when a patient is expected to pay the difference between what the doctor charged and what the insurance paid. It calls for the state to set a fixed rate for services provided by doctors.”
For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.