Tips to avoid high costs on medical bills

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Health care costs in the United States are some of the highest in the world, and even if you have insurance – you can still get stuck with some hefty bills.

Joclyn Krevat is healthy today, but five years ago she developed a rare disorder that forced her to have a heart transplant. But after the procedure the bills piled up, and the 36-year-old found out that even though the hospital took her insurance, the surgical team that performed the surgery did not.

She and her husband were on the hook for more than $70,000.

“I thought that we were going to lose everything,” said Krevat.

Krevat’s story is documented in a new article from Consumer Reports. Health analyst Doris Peter said even insured Americans are having a hard time paying off medical bills.

“It’s one of the major causes of debt and bankruptcy in this country,” she said.

Peter said you want to pick an insurance plan that’s right for you, one that best fits you and your needs. Next, make sure all doctors treating you are in your network, and always find out how much a treatment is going to cost.

“That’s not always an easy answer to get, but you need to demand that,” Peter said.

With the help of an advocacy group, Krevat was able to negotiate her bills down to just a few thousand dollars. She’s happy it worked out, but is still frustrated it happened in the first place.

Consumer Reports said many health insurance companies now provide information on their website, so you can make sure a doctor is in network and find out which procedures are covered under your plan.

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