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Medical debt is a major problem for many Tennessee patients

Medical care is expensive, even for those in Tennessee who have insurance. A hospital stay, prolonged illness or traumatic injury can result in bills that can quickly overwhelm a patient and family. Insurance doesn't always cover every aspect of a patient's care, and the result can be medical debt and mounds of paperwork that can become unmanageable. 

Medical billing and coding is complex. Even if a patient gets care and treatment for a relatively minor reason, he or she can receive dozens of bills for individual services or medical devices. For example, an anesthesiologist may bill separately from the surgeon, and certain instruments may be charged separately. It can be difficult, if not impossible, for a patient to figure out what the charges are for and whether they are accurate. It can add additional stress and trauma for someone already dealing with injury or illness.

Patients and families have the right to dispute charges, negotiate payments with the hospital and demand to know why certain things were not covered by insurance. However, this can be very intimidating and confusing, especially when it's difficult simply to decipher the bills. Hospitals and medical service providers are not always concerned with working with the financial needs of a patient.

Medical debt can happen to anyone, even to Tennessee families who have steady income and health insurance. One hospitalization or sickness can lead to bill after bill, and eventually, it becomes difficult to keep up. In some cases, it may be beneficial to consider the benefits of bankruptcy, which is a process that allows for the discharge of certain types of unsecured debt. 

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