North Texas

Medical Debt Epidemic: Hospital Billing Explained

Stephen Love is the president of the Dallas Hospital Council. He advocates for and represents hospitals across North Texas.

"We're not perfect by a longshot, but we are trying to do well by the community," said Love.

Love said hospitals are sometimes viewed as the bad guy but he said they have to make money.

"You have to make a margin to continue the mission. You don't want the hospital to go out of business and at the same time you want to be fair to the consumer," said Love.

Love said think of their business more like a car dealership. Say you sell four cars everyday and you know one of them has to be given away for free.

"If we're going to stay in business, what are we going to do with the other three? We're going to raise the price of those other cars to make up for that."

But looking at hospital bills it's easy to get frustrated with the amount of money some things cost. Love said hospitals are required to have a max price for everything.

It's kind of like the rack room at posted on the back of a door at a hotel.

"Hospitals bill a reasonable and customary charge," said Love.

"I don't think anyone thinks $70 for a Pepcid is a reasonable and customary charge," responded NBC 5's Wayne Carter.

"I understand that and I hear the horror stories about $100 for an aspirin. Obviously it's going to be less than that. As we redo the way healthcare is delivered, hopefully we can move away from that and make it more transparent," said Love.

Hospitals truly give a huge amount of discounts and charity care to patients every day. If you can't afford or pay what they're asking, call and ask to speak to a financial counselor or patient navigators and explain your situation. Often times there is help out there to help you manage those bills.

Remember NBC 5 is working to raise money to eliminate medical debt for people right here in North Texas. If you give one dollar it helps eliminate $100 in medical debt for someone in our community.

So far all of you have stepped up – and donated enough to cover $3.4 Million in medical debt. If you want to help as well you can donate below.

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