According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 59% of consumers contacted about a debt reported receiving calls and letters about a medical debt in collections. Medical debt, which strikes insured and uninsured alike, is the top reason consumers are contacted by debt collectors. In fact, over 50% of Americans surveyed by the American Journal of Public Health reported that a medical debt contributed to their bankruptcy. We are interested in hearing from Georgians struggling with medical bills and debt. If you need help navigating medical bills and debt and would like to share your story, please fill out the form below.
Georgia Watch and partners recently launched a project to address medical billing practices in Southwest Georgia. As such, we are especially interested in hearing from Southwest Georgians who are experiencing significant medical bills and/or struggling with medical debt.
Tell us your medical billing and debt story!
Out-of-Network Services and Surprise Medical Bills
Surprise medical bill often result from out-of-network services, which are significantly more expensive. One state-by-state study conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) noted that average medical bills submitted by out-of-network providers were 10, 20, and sometimes 100 times higher than Medicare reimbursement for the same service performed in the same geographic area. The report highlighted findings from Georgia, such as out-of-network service charges for radiation therapy that were, on average, 500% higher than the Medicare fee.
Georgia Watch has advocated diligently for surprise billing legislation to protect Georgia consumers from unexpected out-of-network medical costs in an emergency or during a planned procedure. For five years, we fought for protections from these surprise bills that can throw many families into a financial tailspin. With passage and the signing of the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act in 2021, Georgia became the 16th state to adopt comprehensive protections against surprise medical bills, covering an estimated 2.5 million Georgia residents. The law went into effect in 2021. We look forward to providing education materials to help Georgians understand their rights under the new law.
Resources and Tools
|Short National Consumer Law Center guide for dealing with medical bills and debt.
|Dealing with Medical Debt: Consumer Advice from NCLC
|A resource from Georgia Watch on managing medical bills and medical debt.
|Georgia Consumer Guide for Medical Bills and Debt
|A one-page resource from Georgia Watch on handling medical bills and avoiding surprise bills
|Medical Bills: Know Your Rights!