Monday, December 18, 2017

In which I fire a popgun against balance billing

When I went to the doctor last week, I tried a little experiment while filling out the paperwork:

That's a little hard to read. I crossed out the services for which I was asked to agree to be financially responsible should my insurer fail to pay in full. I should have also crossed out the preceding - "I agree that I am financially responsible for any unpaid balance." But this was just testing whether anyone in the office would notice/object. They didn't.

In itself this is a pretty useless gesture, but here's a serious thought (or question) behind it: Is it possible to organize widespread resistance, not only to balance billing authorizations, but to various so-called "contracts of adhesion" (take-it-or-leave-it contracts), such as those with mandatory arbitration clauses? Could a consumer group mount a campaign to get large numbers of people to reject a targeted clause? If enough people did it, maybe providers would have to come up with responses other than "can't serve you, then." It might work with a relatively low-stakes contract (one you don't have to sign on a gurney, figuratively speaking), such as to open a brokerage account.

I may schedule a colonoscopy (never had one) and try this maneuver again. I don't expect it to work. But response and discussion might be interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. What is needed is a systematic legal challenge against these illegitimate bills. I have written extensively about this.

    Here is a sample of the kind of court cases we need more of....