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Legal reporters explain how to cover medical funding companies that prey on patients

Jessica Dye

Alison Frankel

For many reasons, the health insurance system leaves some consumers unable to cover the full cost of care. When that happens, some patients turn to medical funding companies to help them pay their bills. Often, physicians and other providers will refer their patients to medical funders who pay the providers and then collect from these patients. The problem, as journalists Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye learned last year, is that consumers sometimes suffer when dealing with unscrupulous medical funding companies. Dye (@jdye) is a legal correspondent for Reuters in New York. Frankel (@AlisonFrankel) is the editor, On The Case for Thomson Reuters.

As they reported last year, “In the little known world of medical lending, financiers invest in operations to remove pelvic implants from women suing device makers — and reap an inflated share of the payouts when cases settle.”

In their investigations for Reuters, they reported how these investors profit by financing care for desperate patients and how business groups called for a probe of medical funders.

For this tip sheet, we asked Frankel and Dye for advice on how journalists could cover this story.

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