As the father of four sports-playing children, David Silverstein has long grappled with the high cost of hospital care. “There’s always a bill for something,” he said, laughing.
But something changed years ago when he received an emergency room bill for his then-high school-aged daughter, Kailey. The total came to $12,000, but Silverstein’s portion came in just under $1,000.
Despite a background in health care — Silverstein has worked with hospitals and insurance companies for years through his management consulting business — he was flummoxed by the math. The 92% discount may have benefited him, but it also seemed arbitrary and confusing, he said.
But after he paid the bill, he couldn’t get the hospital to respond to his questions. So he decided not to make that mistake again.
He has been challenging hospital bills ever since, and started doing it for non-family in early 2016, through his Colorado-based nonprofit BrokenHealthcare.org. Silverstein estimates that he’s reached a couple of hundred people since, including those who have used his techniques on their own. None of the roughly 40 patients he’s given direct help to have paid a cent, he said.