NEW YORK, June 7, 2023 (Newswire.com) - Credello: New legislation on medical bill transparency has passed in Texas. Hospitals are now required to provide itemized receipts to patients before sending their bills to collections. This is a positive development for Americans burdened by unexpected health expenses.
"Going door to door visiting with voters I'd hear stories about medical bills and debt, often unexplained and over-billed charges, that burdened families," State Rep. Caroline Harris, R-Round Rock, who worked with Sen. Bryan Hughes, (R-Mineola) to get the legislation passed, told KXAN.
According to KXAN, a Central Texas hospital recently sued hundreds of patients over unpaid medical bills, several of whom received vague invoices without itemized receipts before being served with a lawsuit. With this new law, a patient would be able to get clarity around hospital charges and contest some of them if necessary. It would also prevent patients from being taken advantage of.
Medical debt in the U.S.
Medical debt is a significant issue in the U.S., with millions of Americans facing financial challenges due to health care expenses. This is even worse for uninsured and underinsured people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2021, approximately 8.3% of the population, or about 27.2 million people, did not have health insurance coverage. Many Americans are also considered underinsured, meaning they have health insurance but still face high out-of-pocket costs and limited coverage.
Medical bills are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, in 2019, 66.5% of all bankruptcies were related to medical issues.
Medical debt is often pursued by collection agencies, which can resort to aggressive tactics to collect outstanding payments, further adding to individuals' financial burden and stress.
Dealing with medical debt
Dealing with medical debt can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to manage the situation. First, review all your medical bills and ensure they are accurate. Mistakes are not uncommon, and you have the right to dispute any errors or questionable charges. Contact the healthcare provider or billing department to clarify any concerns.
Familiarize yourself with the details of your health insurance policy, including coverage limits, deductibles, co-pays, and any out-of-pocket expenses. Understanding what your insurance covers can help you plan and budget accordingly. You can even get a loan for medical emergencies to bridge gaps.
If you're facing difficulty paying your medical bills, it's important to communicate with the healthcare providers involved. They may be able to provide options such as setting up a payment plan or negotiating a reduced amount based on your financial situation. Many providers have financial assistance programs for individuals with low-income or uninsured patients. If you're unable to work because of your health situation, look into different types of disability loans to alleviate your financial burden.
Finally, familiarize yourself with consumer protection laws in your area. Certain regulations may provide rights and protections regarding medical debt, including limitations on collection actions or statutes of limitations.
The new Texas legislation on medical bill transparency is a step in the right direction to prevent Americans from financial hardship in the event of a health emergency. If you find yourself struggling with medical debt, there are steps you can take - including reviewing your medical bills and asking for itemized receipts.
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Original Source: Credello: New Legislation on Medical Bill Transparency Has Passed. What Does This Mean?