My business, Patient Unions, is working to provide transparency in the medical bills in the United States. We also help patients with techniques and services to reduce their medical bills and debts, as well as alternative affordable healthcare solutions. We currently operate in Clarksville, Maryland, and conduct all services through online and virtual media.
We started running our business in October 2020 locally in Howard County, MD. I walked door to door to private organizations and businesses such as pizza stores, restaurants, gas stations, Costco and Walmart, mechanics shops, to provide information to private sector employees. Throughout the pandemic, I have been working to promote medical bill knowledge to my community. I get positive feedback from almost everyone as they come to realize they get overcharged for their 5-minute office visit by being charged under a code for a 20-minute visit only after hearing about my own experience. People started to realize that they should never pay a bill without seeing a summary bill, always request an itemized bill, and check the requirement of that code online. The spread of knowledge is making a positive impact on people around and I want this knowledge and information to be spread out throughout the whole country. As we grow, I am hoping to be connected to the employee benefits department of private sectors, people who are like me, paying hefty medical insurance premiums and still have deductibles, so that each individual can be equipped with the right knowledge to avoid financial stress.
I started looking into the medical bill problem in the US two years ago, after my son’s emergency room visit of minor pneumonia. I started to notice the transparency issue in our healthcare system, and this has resulted in patients getting ripped off, causing them financial distress and even pushing people into bankruptcy due to medical debts.
I believe a great nation should deserve great healthcare. It should be affordable to all and everyone has the right to know how much it will cost beforehand so they can afford to make the right decision for their care.
That’s why I created thepatientunion.com, a website that provides data transparency and medical bill information from user data, where patients can provide their own medical costs anonymously without privacy concerns. On top of that, the website can help patients reduce their medical debt and bills so they only pay for the services they used.
I grew up in China and immigrated to Singapore before I settled in the United States. Witnessing the difference between the three healthcare systems, I was surprised that patients do not get a chance to know an estimate for their medical service, even after the service has been delivered.
Let’s look at an example, there are an estimated 45,699 Baltimore residents without insurance coverage, with its median income of $50,379 in 2019, falling behind the national level of $68,703 by 27%, which makes the city residents more vulnerable to medical bill debts.
By starting close to home in Baltimore to create medical bill transparency and provide techniques in reducing over-charged bills, our communities will be able to save money and receive needed healthcare services. Our hope is to spread this to other cities experiencing this issue and improve the quality of life in low-income communities.