Health insurance wasn't enough to spare a high school teacher from a $108,951 hospital bill.
Drew Calver, 44, of Austin, Texas, had a heart attack last year, resulting in a four-day emergency hospital stay, according to a report from Kaiser Health News. Despite having health-care coverage, he wound up with the six-figure bill — thanks to a practice known as "balance billing."
In balance billing, medical providers that are out of network are unable to reach an agreement with the insurer on a reasonable price for service. In turn, the patient ends up on the hook for the remainder.
Your best protection is to become an empowered patient and prepare to contest unreasonably high bills. Here are four suggestions from Carolyn McClanahan, a certified financial planner and an M.D., to gear up for battle.