Forget Dr. Google — Gen Z is getting medical debt advice from TikTok

Though TikTok is perhaps best known for its endless scroll of dancing and lip-syncing videos — courtesy of a predominantly Generation Z-aged user base — some users have found the app to be a useful platform for dispensing and receiving medical advice.

One user, for example, racked up more than 756,000 likes and 3,000 comments for a Dec. 3 video in which she recommends that viewers with large amounts of medical debt call their healthcare provider and ask first for a review of the level of care, then for an itemized bill, The New York Times reports.

In the minute-long video, Shaunna Burns suggests that, upon receiving this request, rather than revealing that a patient has been charged "$37 for a f— band-aid," a provider will instead remove all similarly minor charges, potentially resulting in hundreds of dollars of savings. Several health experts told NYT Ms. Burns' advice is a good place to start for those struggling with medical debt.

Indeed, one of the video's viewers, 22-year-old Eva Zavala, told NYT she followed Ms. Burns' advice and saw a recent hospital bill she had received for a trip to the emergency room that included an ultrasound and blood work, totaling more than $1,000 after insurance, reduced to zero.

The health system could not confirm to NYT whether it was Ms. Zavala's phone call requesting an itemized bill that resulted in the zero balance, saying only that they offer flexible financial assistance programs. Ms. Zavala had reportedly not been notified of having financial assistance applied to her debt.

Ms. Burns is not the only TikTok user offering medical advice: Many physicians and nurses use the app to share their expertise about various medical conditions and procedures, NYT reports, providing much-needed healthcare information to a digital-first generation that research shows is more dissatisfied than any previous cohort about the effectiveness, convenience, transparency and efficiency of their healthcare.

View the full NYT report here.

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