Goodbill, the online hospital bill negotiation service, today launched a free hospital directory to help consumers compare prices and patient records accessibility at more than 6,000 hospitals across the country.
Users can look up specific hospitals and see how their prices compare to nearby hospitals for common emergency room visit reasons such as headaches, heart palpitations, food poisoning and urinary tract infections. Users can also see whether a hospital has incurred any recent violations or complaints in granting patients access to their own billing and medical records, as required by law.
See also: 3 in 5 hospitals violate patient billing rights, Goodbill finds
By bringing more transparency to an opaque industry, Goodbill aims to equip consumers with the information they need to understand or challenge their hospital bill. Currently, one in two Americans have medical debt, and the biggest drivers of this medical debt are hospital visits, according to a recent study by Affordable Health Insurance. Half of those with debt owe $10,000 or more.
“Everyone has a hospital bill horror story. Two to three hours in the ER can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket, and good luck trying to understand why,” said Patrick Haig, CEO and co-founder of Goodbill.
“Patients are tired of fighting against a billing machine that doesn't seem to care about them. This is a first step toward changing that,” he said. “They're tired of making countless phone calls to billing departments, not getting documents they asked for, and worrying about being sent to collections while trying to understand their bill. Patients deserve to know exactly how their bill was calculated.”
“Patients are tired of fighting against a billing machine that doesn't seem to care about them," said Goodbill CEO and co-founder Patrick Haig.
Goodbill’s new hospital directory also provides educational resources for consumers, such as estimating when a bill from a nonprofit hospital might get sent to a collections agency, or how to file a complaint if a hospital hasn’t complied with a request for records, doesn’t give electronic access to medical records, or doesn’t publish their prices. Goodbill said it plans to gradually expand the platform to include more features, including customer reviews.
The launch is the latest in a period of rapid expansion for Goodbill. The tech startup, which got off the ground last year after raising $3.4 million in seed funding, recently expanded its online hospital bill negotiation service to all 50 states after several months of beta testing in specific markets. The company has seen huge demand, especially from emergency room patients, and has helped patients save as much as 95% so far.
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