I just published The Medical Bill Survival Guide: Easy, Effective Strategies for People Experiencing Financial Hardship on September 1, 2010. This is an educational “how to” manual for patients and families needing help with medical bills.
This book teaches patients and their families easy, effective strategies for working with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers and presents useful lessons such as how process problems cause claims to be denied, how to demonstrate financial hardship, and how to talk productively to billers and collectors. The information is aimed to benefit insured patients who are experiencing payment difficulty, uninsured patients who are unemployed or cannot afford health insurance, patients and families who have survived catastrophic medical episodes, and patients with chronic diseases.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a senior analyst at a national healthcare management company. I hold a master’s degree in hospital service administration and have published several articles for the Healthcare Financial Management Association and other healthcare trade publications on managed care and revenue cycle management.
What inspired you to write this book?
Over 60% of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. are related to medical bills because there is a serious lack of education on this topic. I stand by the belief that no one would ever be forced into bankruptcy in the U.S. because of medical costs if everyone was aware of their options.
The sheer number of people needing help with medical bills is overwhelming. Over 35 million people experience an inpatient hospital stay each year in the U.S. Additionally, the CDC estimates that 26 million Americans have heart disease, 24 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disese (COPD), 23 million Americans have diabetes, and about 1.5 people million people will be newly diagnosed with some type of cancer in 2009. Over time, these people can accumulate bills that are just as large as those with hospital stays.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I already have some great ideas for improving the second edition which will be out in 2012. I had to develop a fair amount new content for some of the reporters I’ve been working with on the publicity side. I can’t wait to put it in the next book.
In the meantime I’m looking at some really neat opportunities to create some apps for our forum that will assist our members in finding low-cost providers and assessing themselves for financial assistance.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Writing about something that you are very passionate about makes the process easier. I can’t imagine going through the publishing process with a book I didn’t love.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The book is meant for patients and families in financial distress. It is especially beneficial to those that have recently experienced a medical catastrophe, are uninsured, or have a high-deductible health plan. If you need help with medical bills and you are considering bankruptcy, you need to read this book first.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
The book is available from all major and independent book retailers, libraries, and online book sellers. E-book copies are available at 40% of the paperback price via Kindle, ePub, and Adobe Acrobat.
I also maintain a free online forum where patients can ask questions and get help with medical bills at www.medicalbillsurvivalguide.com. There are over 2,000 registered users on our site and dozens of free articles.
You can order the book online at Barnes&Noble, Borders, or Amazon.