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What TikTok is saying about paying medical bills

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Healthcare RCM
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What TikTok is saying about paying medical bills

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Healthcare RCM
Operations

What TikTok is saying about paying medical bills

We’re back with more weird, wrong, and sometimes actually helpful advice from TikTok!

Last time we talked about what TikTok had to say about debt and collections generally, but this time we were looking specifically for advice on things like #medicalbills #medicaldebt, and #hospitalbills.

We’ve seen a lot in the news about healthcare bills lately, with the removal of medical debt under $500 and other changes on credit reports, continued CFPB actions, and The New York Times exposé on non-profit Allina Health System’s denial of care for patients with debt.

But people get their information in all kinds of places, including on TikTok, where everyone from RNs to “credit coaches” are offering tips like these:

  • You only have to pay $5 a month to prevent medical bills from going to collections
  • Never pay a medical bill under $500
  • Medical bills can’t be reported to credit bureaus for one year
  • Non-profit healthcare organizations can’t bill you
  • Hospitals have to post their prices online or you don’t have to pay
  • If the portion of your bill is higher than the provider’s original estimate, don’t pay
  • Requesting an itemized bill will automatically lower your cost
  • Don’t confirm your phone number or address if someone calls about a medical bill
  • Medical bills are always negotiable
  • Medical bills are never negotiable
  • Your credit score isn’t affected by medical debt
  • Healthcare providers have to negotiate bills with you
  • If you go to the ER, ask for the charity care policy immediately or you will owe
  • Non-profit hospitals must reimburse patients who qualify for financial assistance

As you can see, the usefulness of this advice runs the gamut (always request an itemized bill, friends!), and is frequently half-right.

But when patients think they’ve found the answer to managing their medical bills, now it’s your team’s job to help them understand what’s fact and what’s fiction.

Managing misinformation‍

What the popularity of these videos tells us is that patients with medical debt don’t have a complete understanding of their rights and obligations, and definitely don’t know where to turn to find complete and accurate information.

For teams in healthcare RCM, that means in addition to working through a patient’s financial problems, you may also need to deal with the problematic information they’ve gotten from a 15-second video.

But while you can’t stop TikTokers from TikToking (offer not valid in Montana), you can take steps to keep everything running smoothly on your end.

Making sure call notes are clear and complete, increasing QA and compliance coverage to 100% of calls, and coaching patient financial representatives to follow every step in every call can help your team help patients - wherever they’ve gotten their financial advice.

Using generative AI can help you accomplish all of these things with automated call notes that cut AHT and improve productivity, automated QA and compliance workflows to free up your managers, and real-time agent assistance.

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