A doctor offers a surgical add-on that leads to a $1,877 bill for a young girl's ear piercing. A patient protests unnecessary scans to identify and treat her breast cysts. A study shows intensive care-level treatment is overused.
ProPublica has been documenting the myriad ways the health system wastes money on unnecessary services, often shifting the costs to consumers. But there are ways patients can protect themselves.
We consulted the bill-wrangling professionals at Medliminal, one of a number of companies that negotiate to reduce charges for a share of the savings. After years of jousting with hospitals, medical providers and insurers, their key advice for patients and their families is to be assertive and proactive.
Here are seven steps patients can take to protect themselves:
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