Even as Congress debates health care reform proposals, millions of Americans—with and without health insurance—struggle to pay medical bills, and their numbers continue to grow.

Today, Families USA released three new pieces to help consumers navigate the maze of medical debt. These new consumer guides offer strategies, tips, and warnings to consumers as they struggle to manage medical debt and to avoid bankruptcy.

Your Medical Bills: A Consumer’s Guide to Coping with Medical Debt, details the legal rights and primary actions consumers should take to deal with rising medical expenses. The consumer-friendly guide offers step-by-step instructions on dealing with medical bills, beginning with the vital first step of reviewing each bill and learning how to appeal charges that may be inappropriate or should be covered by insurance.

Shortchanged by Medical Debt is a companion fact sheet that reviews the data on who faces problems with medical debt, and highlights that medical debt is a growing problem.

What States are Doing to Protect Consumers spotlights those states that have enacted various consumer protection statutes.

For people who fall into medical debt, the consequences can be severe, leading individuals to postpone or forgo care and leaving families unable to pay other expenses. These guides will help families understand their rights and avoid some of the worst consequences of medical debt.

[Source: electronic communication from Families USA, 11-12-09]

About ACPP_archive

formerly Alaska Center for Public Policy

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