Last week I blogged about an increase in the number of people with insurance who aren’t paying medical bills. At North Memorial, for example, $1 million in unpaid bills by people with insurance in 2007 swelled to $8 million in 2008.
So MPR’s Michael Caputo, of the Public Insight Network, solicited your stories about this factoid.
One of the things he found is that a lot of unpaid bills are the result of battles that consumers are waging with insurance companies, health care providers, or the go-betweens that are supposed to prevent bureaucratic nightmares with insurance companies and health care providers.
Liz Shatek of Cambridge tells the story of not having nearly enough money to pay for health costs, including those around the birth of a child. So she was counseled by her insurance provider to use a financial services provider – MedCredit – that gives loans to patients who can’t afford the bill.
“Anyway, once we started questioning whether insurance had covered the appropriate amounts, we started getting caught in between the MedCredit company and the insurance company. Both would tell us we needed to talk to the other first, no one seemed able to get at the information we were asking for and I wanted to pull my hair out! I was trying to take care of a new baby in between insurance phone calls and waiting on hold for hours (our phone bill was astronomical for a few months). Eventually we just used tax money to pay off the last of the balance with MedCredit and stopped worrying about whether the insurance company had paid for what they said they would.”
Find some of Michael’s stories here. He’s still looking for yours.