On July 25, 2019, Kaiser Health News released a toolkit to help people understand different aspects of medical billing. The toolkit includes comprehensive tips for navigating surprise medical bills, a glossary of common terminology, and example medical bills labeled for clarification. The resource also lists a number of suggested actions to take before seeking medical care.
Increasing literacy around such an issue is key for many patients who are subject to exorbitant and overwhelming medical bills. The idea for the toolkit came from a joint investigative series between Keiser Health News and NPR called “Bill of the Month,” where people send confusing medical bills to KHN and NPR, who then decode the bill. KHN notes that the purpose of the toolkit and “Bill of the Month” is to indicate areas for improvement in the US health care system and to motivate policymakers to simplify medical billing.
Until the system improves, KHN’s guide to decoding medical bills will help people across the country understand what they are paying for. This toolkit is useful at any point in the medical process, from before seeing a practitioner to after receiving a bill. Understanding medical bills is a complex business, and the Kaiser Health News Go-To Guide to Decode Medical Bills makes it more user-friendly.