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Surprise medical bill of the week: $650,000 for a $7000 operation

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

Quizzify knows. Click to learn more.

It’s not about the broccoli, folks.

The major hazard facing employees today is not a broccoli deficiency, but rather: surprise medical bills. And here is one that boggles the mind: $650,000 for a $7000 surgery.  Even when these emergencies are “covered” (meaning you pay their bill, except for the four-figure co-insurance), these bills create stress, both emotional and financial, far in excess of stress created by any problem that can be solved by eating more fruits and vegetables. The rate of these bills is also about 100 times the rate of diabetes admissions and heart attacks combined: more than half of Americans report receiving one in the last five years.

Further, people — even people who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables — live in fear of receiving one. Often one such bill can force a family into bankruptcy.

So perhaps it’s time to rejigger your wellness priorities in favor of this most pressing problem? And the other thing is, unlike risk factors (which rarely decline in a population by more than 1-2%, excluding dropouts anyway, according to the Health Enhancement Research Organization), this problem is solvable. Naturally, your wellness vendor has no clue how to solve it, so pay close attention to the following paragraph.

The “long version” of the solution can be found here, But if you don’t feel like clicking through to it, here is the short version: give your employees a sticker to put on their insurance card that says:

“I consent to appropriate treatment and to be responsible for reasonable charges not covered by insurance, up to 2 times the Medicare rate.”


Then you need to educate your employees — using Quizzify or an endless stream of memos, as you prefer — to do two things:

  1. Carry the insurance card and show the insurance card. It’s not enough to say: “Oh, yeah, I’m covered by so-and-so,” and have the intake person verify eligibility.”
  2. Do not sign the “terms and conditions” they thrust at you. That boldfaced sentence above contains the consent language needed. They have to treat you, based on that consent.

Unlike attempting to create a more broccoli-centric workplace, this is exactly the type of behavior change you can get widespread acceptance of. Nothing like the threat of bankruptcy to motivate employees to put a sticker on their insurance card.

 

 

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

  1. […] employee bankruptcy has ever been attributed to a broccoli deficiency. By contrast, surprise medical bills like this one are the #1 source of bankruptcies, wage garnishments and lawsuits against employees. You may have a […]

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