Latest California Healthline Stories
Americans who had coronavirus symptoms in March and April are getting big hospital bills — because they were not sick enough to get then-scarce COVID tests. Some insurers say they are trying to correct these bills, but patients may have to put up a fight.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.
Some large employers interpreted themselves as exempt from new federal laws that say tests for the coronavirus should be free to patients. Large academic medical centers are holding back from sending bills to these patients to avoid a backlash over surprise billing.
Politicians pledged to stop providers from charging for video appointments or telephone calls, but some patients are being charged $70 or $80 per virtual visit.
Language in the CARES Act says providers who take emergency funding cannot balance-bill coronavirus patients ― and “every patient” is considered a possible COVID-19 patient.
Hidden costs for ER visits and other fees could cost people thousands of dollars.
Most hospitals must offer free or reduced-cost care to certain patients, based on income, even if they have insurance. But some hospitals erect barriers to charity care, so it’s up to patients to advocate for themselves.
Surprise bills are just the latest weapons in a decades-long war among health care industry players over who gets to keep the fortunes generated each year from patient illness: $3.6 trillion in 2018. The practice is an outrage, yet no one in the health care sector wants to unilaterally make the type of big concessions that would change things.
KHN highlights some of the creative valentines posted on Twitter by health policy enthusiasts.
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes billions of dollars in health spending cuts, Congress gets back to work on surprise medical bills, and health care remains a top issue for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.), a former Health and Human Services secretary, joins the panel at a special taping before a live audience in Washington, D.C. Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.