Four in 10 insured American adults say they have dealt with an unexpected medical bill.
Many were shocked to find out they owed thousands of dollars after receiving care at a facility or from a provider they assumed was in-network.
Why is there so much confusion and what's being done to make the process more transparent?
Being able to afford medical expenses is a top concern for two-thirds of Americans, as out-of-network costs and surprise medical bills affect more households.
In its examination of surprise medical bills, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that emergency care visits were more likely to result in at least one out-of-network charge in Texas, New Mexico, New York, California and Kansas.
These unexpected expenses are the result of balance billing – the difference between what the insurance plan will cover for out-of-network care and the estimated amount of services received.
What steps can you take to avoid surprise medical bills? What should patients know ahead of time? What resources are available for recipients of unexpected medical expenses?
What legal steps have been taken to combat surprise medical billing? How can medical professionals, hospital administrations and insurance companies improve the status quo?
- Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation
- John Hawkins, senior vice president of advocacy and public policy for Texas Hospital Association
- Blake Hutson, associate state director for the AARP of Texas
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, July 10.