Arthur J. Fried, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm's New York office, was quoted in Wolters Kluwer’s Health Law Daily, in “Medical Debt: From Hospital Bed to in the Red,” by Bryant Storm.

Following is an excerpt:

Arthur Fried, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, noted that “the causes of medical debt are wide ranging.” Fried corroborated the KFF report by explaining how the problem reaches beyond the uninsured because “although the uninsured are more prone to medical debt, the majority of those reporting difficulty paying medical costs are insured.”

When looking for the origin of debt, Fried said “the most significant triggering cause is the often unexpected sometimes catastrophic nature of the illness or injury itself.” Consumers are then caught off guard by a significant expense, and the hardship is “exacerbated by cost sharing liabilities, including high deductibles and copays, deductibles spanning two plan years or for multiple family members, out-of-network charges, coverage limits and exclusions, and the premiums themselves.” Fried also pointed out that “the event that triggers the medical need can also result in loss or reduction of employment or the need for family members to curtail employment in favor of caretaking responsibilities.” …

Fried noted that “the ACA also places safeguards around medical debt collection practices of not for profit hospitals.” Although he says that the resources associated with the ACA’s Consumer Assistance Programs are limited, Fried thinks the Consumer Assistance Programs, which have been established in 35 states, can “help health care consumers understand the manner in which costs will impact their choices, resolve billing disputes, and appeal claim denials.”

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