F127 Why Do People Go Bankrupt Due to Medical Costs in the US? (Ric Sinclair)
Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy in the US cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall. It’s understandable since if you get sick, you might lose a job and your health insurance. Even if you have health insurance, you might have high deductibles and face the threat of high costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, The number of uninsured nonelderly Americans is increasing. It went from 26.7 million in 2016 to 28.9 million in 2019. Billing claims can get denied by health insurance companies and patients are faces with surprise billing costs. This leads to stressful disputes. Sometimes patients get creative. When Stacey Richter’s husband landed in a New Jersey emergency room, she took an unusual step. Instead of simply signing the hospital’s financial and treatment consent form, she first crossed out sections calling for her to pay whatever amount the hospital charged. Instead, she wrote that she would only pay a rate of a “maximum of two times” what the federal government would pay under Medicare. Stacey is the author of the Relentless health value podcast and she explained this situation thoroughly in one of the shows. New York Times also reported the story.
The guest of this show is Ric Sinclair, the Chief Strategy and Product Officer of Waystar. Waystar is a health tech platform helping streamline payments for over half a million healthcare providers across the US. Ric discussed how does billing looks like and what problems are present and addressed in US healthcare.