Caught in a medical nightmare? A patient advocate might help

stethoscope and pile of money
stethoscope and pile of money

Imagine you are a seriously ill patient caught in a whirlwind of hospitalizations. Can you imagine the number of bills, claims and statements that could pile up on your desk while you are too sick to deal with them? This inattention could cost you tens of thousands of dollars, often due to simple clerical errors, overlapping coverages, or duplicate billing. Even worse, the confusing medical system could make it difficult to arrive at a proper diagnosis and treatment.

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association found that $2.26 trillion dollars was spent on health care in the U.S. in 2007, with more than four billion insurance claims processed. It estimates that 3% of these dollars were lost to fraud. The average U.S. household spent $2,976 on health care in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, not including the cost of insurance.