Dec. 22, 2021

Hacking Healthcare, Prescriptions and Medical Bills

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#34: Healthcare journalist Marshall Allen joins Chris to discuss why you should never pay the first medical bill you receive. He also shares hacks that can help you prevent big medical bills before you get care, remove unreasonable charges, appeal insurance decisions, and lower the amount you pay for prescription drugs. 

Marshall Allen (@marshall_allen) was a reporter at ProPublica investigating the cost and quality of the U.S. healthcare system for over a decade. His work has been honored with several journalism awards, including the Harvard Kennedy School’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. He is also the author of Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.


Selected Links From The Episode

Connect with Marshall Allen: Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

Marshall's Book: Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win

Marshall Allen’s Insurance Appeal Memos

Apple Health App

ProPublica Surgeon Scorecard Project

Save on prescription drugs: GoodRX | Good Shepherd 

Drug price comparison: Consumer Reports on Drug Prices


Full Show Notes

Who is Marshall Allen? [00:17]

Why Marshall Allen dedicated his career to reporting about healthcare. [01:30]

When he felt he had to write a book. [03:23]

Important statistics about the healthcare crisis in the United States (and what it means to be functionally uninsured). [04:40]

What does it mean to win the fight against the health care system? [07:01]

A common cost you can probably avoid on your medical bill. [07:58]

Should you negotiate your medical bill even if you have a low deductible? [09:13]

The main reason the U.S. healthcare system is so broken. [13:26]

Easy big wins to save on healthcare. [15:43]

Are healthcare prices negotiable? [19:37]

Why you should always ask for an itemized medical bill. [22:25]

Chris’ case studies: same ailment, two facilities, different charges. [23:23]

Do hospitals have an obligation to charge a fair price? [29:10]

What do you do when you receive unreasonable medical bills (how to sue in small claims court and what the open price term is). [31:56]

Getting a medical bill before your insurance company responds to the charge (getting tricked to double pay).[42:46]

How to fight your insurance company when they reject the care you need. [44:49]

What if your insurance company doesn’t cover the latest medical discoveries? [46:47]

How do you find the best care (key indicators of medical quality)? [51:09]

A question that will help you save money on procedures you don’t need. [55:36]

How to pick the right healthcare plan (while still saving money) [59:12]

Health Savings Account vs. Flexible Savings Account. [1:03:32]

Saving money on prescription drugs. [1:05:54]

Boosting healthcare literacy in the U.S.  [1:07:48]

Reach out to Marshall Allen. [1:11:17]


Connect with All the Hacks

All the Hacks: Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Email

Chris Hutchins: Twitter | Instagram | Website | LinkedIn


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