Goodbill CEO Patrick Haig shared lessons he learned from negotiating hospital bills during an interview with Healthcare Americana, shedding light into what podcast host Christopher Habig called the “mysterious, opaque, scary” world of hospital bills.
While stories abound about outrageous hospital bills topping $100,000, Haig said “more terrifying” is what everyday patients encounter after spending just a few hours in the emergency room. Many Americans are on high-deductible health insurance plans, which means that one unexpected visit to the hospital can set them back thousands of dollars.
In one example, a patient took precautions to visit the emergency for mental health concerns, which were not severe, and got stuck with an enormous hospital bill. In analyzing the bill, Goodbill found that the hospital charged for a higher level of severity than the patient’s condition merited. While Goodbill succeeded in negotiating 60% off the bill for the patient, most patients wouldn’t know where to start, Haig said.
High hospital prices, the prevalence of high-deductible insurance plans, and an opaque medical billing system all converge to create a "horrible patient experience" for millions of Americans, Haig said.
In some cases, insured patients will even end up paying more than uninsured patients, as a result of the way hospitals and insurance companies negotiate their prices.
Navigating this complexity is something “we do not want or expect your average American to have to know,” Haig said. “All those factors of high-deductible plans, high prices, opaque, esoteric billing — it just all snowballs into this horrible patient experience.”
You can listen to the full podcast by clicking on the audio player at the top of this article.
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