June 20, 2023
Contact: Priya Telang, 720-443-6435 firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Reinisch, 303-653-1009, katie@progressive-promotions.
Consumer Assistance Program Saves 2,660 Coloradans over $7 Million in Unjust Healthcare Charges in First 5 Years
DENVER – Today the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) marked the five-year anniversary of its wildly successful Consumer Assistance Program by announcing that it has saved 2,660 Colorado health care bill-payers a whopping $7,006,507.25 — at last count!
The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) was created in June of 2018 with funding from the Next 50 Initiative to help individual consumers navigate their billing issues with insurers and health care providers such as hospitals and clinics. CAP advocates on behalf of consumers to reduce overbilling or fix coverage but clients are never charged for services. To help raise money for the program, CCHI will host a 5th Anniversary Gala for CAP at the Space Gallery on Thursday, June 22.
“While The Consumer Assistance Program specializes in helping consumers navigate their medical bills and insurance claims, we also help people find resources to mitigate the impact of high healthcare costs,” said Stephanie Arenales, Director of CCHI’s Consumer Assistance Program. “CAP is the only program operating statewide that provides these kinds of services.”
One CAP client of 2,660 is Katiana Brenner of Lakewood who was told by a physician that her son must be transferred to another hospital via ambulance. Then she got the bill: $4,410, because the ambulance ride was deemed “non-emergency.” Seeking help, Katiana turned to CAP. Melissa Duncan, the Consumer Assistance Program Coordinator, reviewed the case and all the paperwork which ultimately indicated it was in fact an emergency. With Melissa’s help, insurance ultimately covered the full amount.
“The success of this program is remarkable,” said Mannat Singh, Executive Director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative which oversees CAP. “But it also underscores the financial toxicity of the healthcare industry, when so many Colorado families are consistently being taken advantage of by a deliberately complex and opaque system that is riddled with overcharges, billing and coding mistakes, compliance issues around coverage, and soaring costs. Some find us at CCHI where we are doing everything possible to help Coloradans access and afford care. We can only imagine how many others never reach us, but in facing a complex dispute system just give up and pay these outrageous and unjustified bills.”
CAP staff notes that the average number of new cases per month in 2023 is 70, which is 18% more than the same period in 2022, and that every dollar CAP spends on casework results in $11.75 in client savings.
CAP also informs CCHI’s policy and regulatory advocacy by identifying emerging concerns that consumers face on a daily basis and the need for changes in the law, and in implementation, monitoring and enforcement.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, membership-based group advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. CCHI serves Coloradans whose access to health care and financial security are compromised by structural barriers, affordability, poor benefits, or unfair business practices of the health care industry.