The Time magazine article, "Bitter Pill - Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us", by Steven Brill, contains important insights about medical billing practices that are relevant to personal injury litigation, and medical debt litigation. This article not only should be read, but it should be kept on file for training purposes.
On the defense side, it is commonplace for medicals to be the foundation for the evaluation of worst case exposure of a claim, and of a reasonable settlement range. Therefore if the medical bills are grossly inflated, the amount paid on the claim will be too. It's common knowledge that health care providers charge extra to cover the cost of care provided to the uninsured, but Brill's article is shocking because it shows that medical bills are inflated many times beyond that.
On the plaintiff's side, the incentive to question the gross amount of medical bills arises with a vengeance after a settlement is reached, and negotiation of the medical liens begins.
It is estimated that over 60% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical bills.
Brill's article is a roadmap of the various ways in which the "sticker price" of medical care is egregiously inflated. The article also contains references to medical billing advocates, who are a breed of consultants who provide critical analysis of the charges in medical bills and who can help negotiate compromises on the bills. These consultants may have relationships with the Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals or Medical Billing Advocates of America. The medical billing advocates mentioned in the article include Katalin Goenez; Beth Morgan, Patricia Stone; and Patricia Palmer.