KHN-NPR’s ‘Bill of the Month’ at 5: A treasury of solutions for confounding medical bills

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

In 2022, readers shared more than 1,000 personal stories of medical billing problems, contributing one patient at a time to an ongoing portrait of the rippling financial consequences of becoming sick or injured in the United States.

Many of the submissions received during the fifth year of KHN-NPR's "Bill of the Month" investigative series conveyed the same message: I want to tell my story so what happened to me won't happen to anyone else.

The stories told this year illuminated some of the major financial decisions American patients are pressed to make in their most vulnerable moments. We met Peggy Dula of Illinois, whose experience illustrated the financial risk patients accept when they get into an ambulance, even one from a local fire department. Sean Deines of North Carolina, who received a $489,000 air ambulance bill, offered a case from before the new federal law took effect last January banning surprise bills, including air ambulance rides. It also demonstrated how insurers can still stick patients with such a bill if they determine the services weren't "medically necessary."

The coverage revealed the measures some take to avoid a big medical bill, like the Fierro family of Arizona, who drove their son to Mexico to treat a dislocated shoulder after racking up big bills from an American hospital for other emergencies.

Our stories from 2022 are collected here, rounding out another year of this important project pursued by a nationwide reporting team since February 2018. Give this year's stories a read and a listen, and you'll learn more about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from a big, unexpected, or downright wrong bill.

Bill of the Month is a crowdsourced investigation by KHN and NPR that dissects and explains medical bills. Do you have an interesting medical bill you want to share with us? Tell us about it!

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Is health a human right? The American College of Physicians answers with an emphatic YES!