It may be the blackest of black boxes.
The pandemic, with its public health fears, has trained a spotlight on the labyrinth of the healthcare industry — specifically, billing, the mess of codes and charges and paper statements that puzzle patients and have providers chasing cash flow.
It’s no secret that as deductibles rise, a greater share of the healthcare burden falls to individual patients.
And, as relayed by the American Hospital Association (AHA), COVID-19 has boosted hospitalizations costs. It has also led to canceled services, to the point where in just four months the U.S. healthcare system has lost more than $202 billion. Every dollar counts, of course, for providers.
Lack Of Transparency
But for the patients, transparency is lacking. Late last month, a group of unions, business groups and policy institutes wrote to congressional leaders to champion a provision be included in the next stimulus legislation to curb “surprise” medical bills.“We urge you to end surprise medical billing for all patients through the implementation of fair, market-based payments for out-of-network charges,” the letter to lawmakers said.Understanding what’s owed — much less collecting on the roughly $375 billion that patients are on the hook for each year — is a problem […]
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