The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSI­NESS -

phia by our lo­cal Chan­nel 10 news but ap­par­ently na­tion­wide by NBC lo­cal sta­tions.

Kaiser Health News (which notes that it is not part of Kaiser Per­ma­nente which is a sep­a­rate med­i­cal provider) takes the ap­proach of a “Kaiser Health News’ Bill-of-the-Month Club.” It has promised to pub­lish, from the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided them by con­sumers a de­scrip­tion of an out­ra­geous bill and the back­ground that led up to it.

NBC is tak­ing a very “hands on” ap­proach by giv­ing view­ers the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to an un­re­lated non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion es­tab­lished only to re­duce med­i­cal debt. Re­gard­ing this or­ga­ni­za­tion and this cam­paign, this au­thor, by the way, notes I have no di­rect in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion or how this pro­gram works other than what is pub­lished on-line. There­fore, read­ers who are in­ter­ested ei­ther in ben­e­fit­ing or con­tribut­ing are in­vited to check it out them­selves en­tirely on their own with no com­ment from me. How­ever, the con­cept which is a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion to as­sist in eras­ing med­i­cal debt, I have to ad­mit is in­trigu­ing.

First, as to Kaiser Health News, the ser­vice has had two “bills of the month” so far. The first was a $17,850 bill for a Texas stu­dent’s urine test. The ti­tle is “Pain Hits Af­ter Surgery When a Doc­tor’s Daugh­ter Is Stunned by $17,850 Urine Test,” news. El­iz­a­beth Morino, the ar­ti­cle re­ports, suf­fered from ex­treme back pain and was di­ag­nosed as need­ing surgery to re­move a disc. Later, she was asked to pro­vide a urine sam­ple. The lab tested for mul­ti­ple con­di­tions and drugs un­known to the pa­tient. The ar­ti­cle noted that, with opiod over­dose deaths ris­ing in the U.S., urine drug test­ing has ex­ploded.

El­iz­a­beth’s in­surer re­fused to pay any of the bill in­di­cat­ing the lab was out of net­work and not cov­ered. If the in­surer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, had con­sid­ered it cov­ered the bill would have been $100.92. Her fa­ther paid $5,000 to set­tle the claim. The les­son to me was to make cer­tain to use an in-net­work provider. How­ever, that is not easy. Many times the pa­tient has no idea whether or­ga­ni­za­tions be­ing used are in­net­work.

The bill of the month for March was pre­scrip­tion of a top­i­cal med­i­ca­tion for toe­nail fun­gus that re­sulted in a $1,500 pre­scrip­tion bill.

To find out more about NBC10 Erase Med­i­cal Debt, check out www. nbcphiladel­ and look for NBC 10 Helps To Erase Med­i­cal Debt. Janet Col­li­ton, Esq. is a Certified El­der Law At­tor­ney and lim­its her prac­tice, to el­der law, re­tire­ment and es­tate plan­ning, Med­i­caid, Medi­care, life care, and spe­cial needs at 790 E. Mar­ket St., Suite 250, West Ch­ester, Pa., 19382, 610-436-6674, col­li­ton@ col­li­ton­ She is a mem­ber of the Na­tional Academy of El­der Law At­tor­neys and, with Jeffrey Jones, CSA, co­founder of Life Tran­si­tion Ser­vices LLC, a ser­vice for fam­i­lies with long-term care needs. Tune in on Wed­nes­days at 4 p.m. to ra­dio WCHE 1520, “50+ Plan­ning Ahead,” with Janet Col­li­ton, Col­li­ton El­der Law As­so­ciates, and Phil Mc­Fad­den, Home In­stead Se­nior Care.

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