Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast

A Blast of Hope and Humanity: Here's what perseverance looks like

6 days 23 hours ago

Laura Derrick fought and endured for decades. When medical bills threatened to swamp her family, she made huge sacrifices, worked unbelievably hard... and helped change the course of history. In a moment when we're all enduring a LOT, it seemed like a great time for Laura's story. It's one of the first stories we ever told on this show, and it has special resonance right now. Bonus: We catch up with Laura for an update.

 

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She tangled with health insurance every day for 25 years. And loved it. Here's what she can teach us.

2 weeks 6 days ago

Barbara Faubion got up every day psyched to go to work—which she says puzzled her friends. “They’d go, ‘You love your job?!? You spend your whole day talking to an insurance company. Are you kidding me?’”


She wasn’t kidding. Because she loved to win—and she was really, really good at untangling other people’s health-insurance problems. 

She's here to teach us what she knows.


And we'll learn something else too, from a conversation with ProPublica reporter Marshall Allen: Why doesn't EVERY health insurance broker have someone like Barbara on staff? This story he did in 2019 has some big clues.


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(Audio excerpt from “Going Down Now” used with permission. ℗&© 2020 The Rockmores. Published by The Rockmores, Boston, MA www.therockmores.com.  All rights reserved. Unauthorized use is a violation of applicable copyright laws.)

 

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How to fight like a bulldog (against bogus medical bills)

1 month ago

Steve Benasso is an HR director who, his colleagues will tell you, hates insurance companies, and hates seeing people getting taken advantage of. So he fights off weird medical bills and bogus insurance denials for those colleagues. "I am a bulldog on this stuff," he says. "I do it every month." And on this episode, he tells us how he does it.


Send your stories and questions: https://armandalegshow.com/contact/ or call 724 ARM-N-LEG

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Financial self-defense school, now in session: Make your own luck.

1 month 2 weeks ago

If you need medical care, it's like you've entered a casino, playing for your financial life, with the deck stacked against you. Lucky for us, we get insight — and tips the dealer WON'T tell you— from ace reporter Celia Llopis-Jepsen.


To start with, she got an executive from a health-care company to talk honestly — maybe more honestly than he realized — about how his company and others are playing the game, when they send patients bills for huge amounts.


Here's what else she found, when she investigated an $80,000 bill one man got: For many COVID patients, including the guy in her story, lots of providers just aren't allowed to bill for more than insurance pays them.


Those are providers who took some of the $175 billion in bailout funds that Congress passed out in March. Don't expect your provider to just tell you. (That $80,000 bill did not include a footnote saying, "Once insurance pays us, you can forget all about this.") But if you get a bill for COVID treatment, you can make your own luck and look up the provider yourself. Because Celia found a government database where you can SEE if your provider took those funds.


We also like Celia's Expert tip sheet for pushing back against your medical bills.

... and her first big medical-bill story— A Kansan's $50k Medical Bill Shows That You Don't Always Owe What You're Charged— is packed with insight too.


Note: When this episode was first posted, our host mis-pronounced the first name of a man who received an $80,000 bill. He is Anil Garmalkar. The audio has been corrected.


We are bringing you these self-defense lessons every two weeks from here on out. That's thanks to direct support from listeners. We'd love for you to support us too: https://armandalegshow.com/support/

 

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1 hour 33 minutes ago
Kaiser Health News, An Arm and A Leg Podcast

A show about the cost of health care that’s more entertaining, empowering, and occasionally useful than enraging, and terrifying and depressing. Reporter Dan Weissmann digs in to show how we got into this crazy mess and how we just might live through it.

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