Jan 17, 2020 - Health

TikTok takes on surprise medical bills

Illustration of money symbol springing out of box

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

TikTok: It's for teens. It's for memes. And sometimes, it's for getting help with a surprise medical bill.

The state of play: The New York Times spotlights Shaunna Burns, who posts videos on the popular social-media app offering life advice and encouragement — including one on hospital billing that garnered thousands of replies about "how baffling the American health care system can be."

There are more authoritative resources out there — Burns' admonition to "Don't take an ambulance unless you are legit dying!" is understandable, but maybe not a maxim to live by.

  • But the simple fact that people are venting on TikTok about their billing surprises shows just how omnipresent frustration with the health care system is.
  • "I thought, 'What if people out there don’t know that they have the right to tell those people to screw off?'" Burns told NYT.

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