Our nation’s healthcare system has faced many challenges in recent years. Affordable healthcare and options for those without coverage are hard to come by these days, sending many families into severe debt over the costs of medical treatment. It is estimated that medical debt is the main contributing factor in nearly 60 percent of bankruptcy filings. Further, of those seeking bankruptcy protection as a result of medical debt, over half actually had some insurance coverage at the time.
The sad truth behind medical debt is that half of all Americans have trouble paying their medical bills at one time or another. Why? It is estimated that consumers are overcharged by hospitals and Doctors by about 10 billion each year. Health insurance companies are denying up to 70 percent more claims than in previous years, leaving consumers with the bill in the end. It is also reported that insurance premiums have increased by 180 percent since 1999.
Interestingly, neither providers or health insurance companies are as profitable as they have been in the past. In fact, many providers have been forced into business bankruptcy or into network consolidation in efforts to avoid financial ruin. Ever wonder why hospitals are joining into teams, or “networks”? While they may boast customer service as the reason, the truth is that they have a better chance at maintaining some level of profitability when they aggregate together. By teaming up, hospital and Doctor networks can charge insurance companies more money for services and receive bulk discounts on supplies.