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What is a patient advocate and how can they help you reduce your healthcare costs?

N.Y. bill extends medical malpractice deadline
Posted at 9:51 AM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 11:51:28-05

Even if you fully understand the intricacies of our healthcare system, the rising costs and prices for your medical needs can be expensive. But having an advocate on your behalf, to help you navigate the confusion, could help you save money, too.

An advocacy group like Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, or CCHI, helps consumers write appeal letters for their healthcare coverage and with questions about their bills.

The CCHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that helps Coloradans navigate our complex healthcare system.

"There’s no other program like this in Colorado and, in fact, in most other states, so we were really trying to fill a gap because we knew that consumers were getting stuck in some challenging healthcare situations and they needed help navigating that," said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for CCHI.

Fox explained how CCHI advocates for consumers: Their staff will help write appeal letters or hop on the phone with you when you call with questions about a medical bill.

The goal is to not only help Coloradans, but ultimately change broken healthcare policy.

CCHI recently pushed for a law to protect Colorado patients against something called surprise medical billing. Legislation passed in 2019 protects patients if they need emergency care from an out-of-network facility or provider. It also applies if someone needs non-emergency care at an in-network facility but unknowingly sees an out-of-network provider.

At the national level, the Patient Advocate Foundation, or PAF, is a nonprofit that provides case management services and financial assistance to patients and caregivers. For more information about PAF, go here.