Consumer Reports announced this week that its medical adviser, Orly Avitzur, recently found out some startling information about how truly out of control some medical billing standards have become across the nation. After the creation of the United States Affordable Care Act, many family doctors, specialists, labs and hospitals started billing patients for services they previously offered for free to make up funds they lost because of Obamacare.
Some of the charges make sense to many people because the fees involve medical personnel performing services that help patients. Brian Torchin says for example, patients are typically charged now for phone and email consultations and follow-ups, copies of records and any extra time spent on their care. Supporters of these types of changes note that the time spent writing an email or copying a record could have otherwise been used to offer paid services to another patient.
On the other hand, many medical facilities are also now sending patients bills that are heavily padded for services that should have been included in the initial care or optional services that patients are not told cost extra. For example, some specialists now give patients “information” pocket-style folders that are both unnecessary and environmentally wasteful. Another doctor might direct a patient to specific Internet pages or offer one or two printed pages of pertinent information. Many of the folders handed out by doctors now contain paperwork patients neither need or want.