How to avoid costly medical bills and get out of medical debt : Shots

How to get rid of medical debt — or avoid it in the first place

Patients and the consumer advocates say there are things people should do to try to avoid, or navigate, the medical debt trap. Financial assistance is available, but it all requires self-advocacy.

Lori Mangum was 32 when apple-sized tumors sprouted on her head. Now — six years and 10 surgeries later — the skin cancer is gone. But her pain lives on, in the form of medical debt.

Even with insurance, Mangum paid $36,000 out-of-pocket, charges that stemmed from the hospital, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the pharmacy, and follow-up care. And she still has about $7,000 more to pay.

While she was trying to manage her treatment and medical costs, Mangum remembers thinking, “I should be able to figure this out. I should be able to do this for myself.”

But medical billing and health insurance systems in the U.S. are complex, and many patients have difficulty navigating them.

“It’s incredibly humbling — and sometimes even to the point of humiliating — to feel like you have no idea what to do,” Mangum said.

If you’re worried about incurring debt during a health crisis or are struggling to deal with bills you already have, you’re not alone. Some 100 million people — including 41% of U.S. adults — have health care debt, according to a recent survey by KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation).

But you can inform and protect yourself. NPR and KHN spoke with patients, consumer advocates, and researchers to glean their hard-won insights on how to avoid or manage medical debt.

“It shouldn’t be on the patients who are experiencing the medical issues to navigate this complicated system,” said Nicolas Cordova, a health care lawyer with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. But consumers who inform themselves have a better chance of avoiding debt traps.

That means knowing the ins and outs of various policies — whether it’s your insurance coverage, or a hospital’s financial assistance program, or a state’s consumer protection laws. Ask a lot of questions and persist. “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Cordova, “because sometimes you might get a ‘yes’.”

Even people with health insurance can land in debt; indeed, one of the biggest problems, consumer advocates said, is that so many people are underinsured, which means they can get hit with huge out-of-pocket costs from coinsurance and high deductibles.

Here is some practical advice about facing down medical debt, at every stage of care and after.

Before You Get Care

Get familiar with your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs

Get the best insurance coverage you can afford — even when you’re healthy. Make sure you know what the copays, coinsurance, and deductibles will be. Don’t hesitate to call the insurer and ask someone to walk you through all the potential out-of-pocket costs. Keep in mind that you cannot make changes to your policy except during certain windows of time, such as open enrollment (typically in the fall or early winter) or after a major life event.

Sign up for public insurance if you qualify

If you’re uninsured but need health care, you might qualify for

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Special-WHO Claims It Encouraged Ukraine to Destroy Pathogens in Wellness Labs to Avoid Disorder Distribute | World Information

By Jennifer Rigby and Jonathan Landay

(Reuters) -The Planet Overall health Business recommended Ukraine to damage superior-danger pathogens housed in the country’s public wellbeing laboratories to prevent “any likely spills” that would unfold illness amongst the inhabitants, the company instructed Reuters.

Like many other nations around the world, Ukraine has general public health laboratories studying how to mitigate the threats of risky diseases impacting both of those animals and people such as, most a short while ago, COVID-19. Its labs have obtained guidance from the United States, the European Union and the WHO.

Biosecurity specialists say Russia’s motion of troops into Ukraine and bombardment of its metropolitan areas have raised the hazard of an escape of ailment-creating pathogens, should really any of these facilities be harmed.

In response to queries from Reuters about its perform with Ukraine forward of and through Russia’s invasion, the WHO reported in an email on Thursday that it has collaborated with Ukrainian public health and fitness labs for quite a few several years to advertise stability methods that aid reduce “accidental or deliberate release of pathogens.”

Political Cartoons on World Leaders

“As part of this get the job done, WHO has strongly suggested to the Ministry of Health and fitness in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to ruin superior-danger pathogens to avert any opportunity spills,” the WHO, a United Nations agency, explained.

The WHO would not say when it had built the advice nor did it present particulars about the sorts of pathogens or toxins housed in Ukraine’s laboratories. The company also did not answer thoughts about regardless of whether its suggestions were followed.

Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and at their embassy in Washington did not react to requests for comment.

Ukraine’s laboratory capabilities have been at the middle of a rising details war due to the fact Russia started going troops into Ukraine two weeks ago.

On Friday, Russia identified as a assembly of the 15-member U.N. Safety Council to reassert, without having providing evidence, a longstanding claim that Ukraine ran biological weapons laboratories with U.S. Defense Department aid.

The accusation has been consistently denied by Ukraine and the United States, wherever federal government officers warn Russia might use it as a pretext to deploy its personal chemical or biological weapons.

Izumi Nakamitsu, the U.N. Superior Agent for Disarmament Affairs, explained to the Safety Council on Friday that the United Nations is “not knowledgeable” of any organic weapons application in Ukraine, which joined an intercontinental ban on such arms, as has Russia and the United States along with 180 other international locations.

U.N. officers have also explained the WHO, in its do the job with Ukraine, is not conscious of any action in the region that would violate worldwide treaties “such as on chemical weapons or biological weapons.”

The WHO assertion to Reuters referred entirely to public wellness laboratories. The agency said it encourages all get-togethers to cooperate in “the risk-free and safe disposal of any pathogens they arrive throughout, and to arrive at

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How to avoid packing on the holiday pounds | Health & Fitness

With the holiday season already in full swing, temptations are aplenty in the form of good food and bad weather keeping people from being active outdoors.

Linda Blount-Jacobs works out at Powerhouse Gym Columbus in Columbus, Ohio.

The fear of holiday weight gain fueled by more food and less activity is one that has persisted for years, experts say.

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