Consumer Action’s Health & Wealth Convening resources

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


There are many connections between physical health and financial health, from inadequate health insurance to insufficient protections to prevent the consequences of deep medical debt. Ideas for addressing them abound—and we examined some of them at our online Health and Financial Wealth Convening on Sept. 29 and 30 (click to view recorded panels). During these two 90-minute online sessions, Consumer Action brought together non-profit and industry experts and community representatives to discuss critical topics like "surprise" medical billing, medical debt collection, telemedicine, and innovative solutions for access to health care for underrepresented consumers. The convening was presented by Walmart.

Consumer Action compiled this list of resources on the topics discussed at our Convening.

'Surprise' (balance) billing
  • States with “comprehensive” balance-billing protections include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Get more information at the Commonwealth Fund website.
  • Healthcare providers who want to be reimbursed for COVID-related charges must explicitly agree not to balance-bill patients, according to HHS. This applies to Medicare and Medicaid as well. Get more information here.
Medical debt
  • National Consumer Law Center’s (NCLC) Dealing with Medical Debt offers consumers advice.
  • For more practical help in dealing with medical, student loan, mortgage and other debt, NCLC's Surviving Debt is available for free online during the COVID crisis.
  • NCLC's Guide to Reducing Hospital Bills provides a nine-step approach for lower-income patients.
  • NCLC’s Model Medical Debt Protection Act outlines a framework for reducing burdensome medical debt and protecting patients in their dealings with medical creditors, medical debt buyers, and medical debt collectors with respect to such debt. 
Healthcare coverage
Telehealth resources
Medical data protection
  • A recent waiver giving HIPAA business associates greater authority to use and disclose patient data without approval from the HIPAA-covered entity that hired them raises serious concerns about the likelihood for misuse of patient data, according to a new report.
Health and wealth: The connection



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