Insurance companies have increasingly pushed costs onto patients. Nowhere is this more prevalent than the issue of surprise medical billing. Surprise medical bills often hit patients when they are most vulnerable and recovering from medical care, and they can occur for a variety of reasons:
The insurer refused to cover the costs associated with the care provided
The doctor or hospital that treated the patient was “out of network”
The cost of care did not meet the patient’s insurance deductible
Regardless of the reason, patients should not have to worry about surprise medical bills after a medical procedure.
Insurance companies refusal to pay a fair price for medical services after they have been provided, has hurt patients and doctors. Patients, even those with “good insurance,” now fear the medical system and delay treatment and costs. Doctors, particularly emergency room doctors who are obligated to screen and stabilize all patients, are left to accept an insurer’s unfair price or seek payment from a patient that cannot afford the cost.
Congress is currently debating this issue and has the chance to do the right thing by:
Ensuring doctors receive fair reimbursement rates that sustain their practice
Establishing an independent resolution process that allows healthcare experts to solve billing disputes between doctors and insurance companies
Guaranteeing insurance companies have adequate networks to provide the right number of specialty and emergency physicians in all regions of the country
Taking patients out of billing disputes between doctors and insurance companies
Requiring insurance companies to clearly list their plan details and increase transparency as well as understanding among patients