Medicare does a decent job of making their statements of what Medicare paid, what the a patient's supplemental coverage paid and what the patient him/herself may be billed. But that's mostly for people who are 65 and older.
I know that a lot of TGB readers haven't yet reached Medicare age and that non-Medicare medical bills can be nearly impossible to decipher. Now there is some help.
It's called Your Go-To Guide to Decode Medical Bills, a project of NPR and Kaiser Health News to create the “Bill of the Month”. It is
”...a crowdsourced investigative series in which we dissect and explain medical bills you send us. We have received nearly 2,000 submissions of outrageous and confusing medical bills from across the country.
“Each month we select one bill to thoroughly investigate, often resulting in the bill being resolved soon after the story is published.”
The fact that KHN/NPR can't possibly explain all the bills they receive led to this helpful series – a user-friendly toolkit, as they put it – to help patients understand “some of the ins and outs of medical billing.”
The first section of the most recent “Bill of the Month” contains checklists for what to do before seeking medical care; how to use an itemized bill; common mistakes that might be on your bill; and more.
There is also a glossary section with definitions of old familiars like copay. Some of them I'd never heard of such as Chargemaster, and apparently there is a difference between outpatient services and outpatient clinic. All explained in non-medical terms so people like me can understand.
You can find this latest in the free series at Kaiser Health News.
MEDICARE PART D
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that President Trump is considering an executive order
”...that would cut prices on virtually all branded prescription drugs sold to Medicare and other government programs, according to two industry sources who had discussions with the White House.Further,
”The White House declined to comment,” reports Reuters, “and it was unclear how far along the any such plan was from being undertaken. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also declined to comment.
“Americans pay the highest prices for prescription drugs in the world as most other developed nations have single-payer systems in which the government negotiates drug prices for its people.”
Since we have learned that the president changes his mind from hour to hour and even, sometimes denies having said things we all saw him say on the video tape, there is no way to tell how real this is. You can read more at Reuters.