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On average, 16% of inpatient stays and 18% of emergency visits left a patient with at least one out-of-network charge, most of those came from doctors offering treatment at the hospital, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
A legislative package from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would handle surprise medical bills by having insurers pay them the “median in-network rate,” meaning the rate would be similar to what the plan charges other doctors in the area for the same procedure.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled next week to mark up a massive legislative package on curbing health costs, but some of the details remain unresolved, including what formula to use to pay doctors and hospitals involved in surprise medical bills.
A new state law says hospitals and insurers will have to work it out among themselves when they can’t agree on a price — instead of sending huge bills to patients. “Bill of the Month” patient Drew Calver galvanized attention on the issue after he told his story to KHN, NPR and “CBS This Morning.”
The median cost of an air ambulance bill is more than $36,000 and seldom covered by insurance, sparking many consumer complaints. Yet none of the proposals introduced or circulating in Congress to fix surprise medical bills address these services.
Lawmakers and patients want to eliminate “surprise” out-of-network medical bills. Hospitals, doctors and insurers say they want to eliminate them, too, but their opposition to one another’s proposals could complicate legislative efforts. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus the latest in news about reproductive health and health care sharing ministries.
KHN correspondent Rachel Bluth appeared on “PBS NewsHour Weekend” to talk with host Megan Thompson about the continuing problem of surprise medical bills and how the issue is playing on Capitol Hill.
Millions of Californians are vulnerable to hefty surprise medical bills from their trips to the emergency room. Now, state lawmakers are considering a measure to cap how much out-of-network hospitals can charge privately insured patients for emergency care, which could serve as a model for other states.
The Republican’s legislation, prepared with Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on Alexander’s health committee, would be an ambitious lift because it also deals with prescription drug patents, health transparency and vaccine messaging.
This high-profile issue has gained bipartisan attention, but it remains unclear if that’s enough to move it to the finish line. Here’s a review of the current state of play.
Despite the broad agreement on the need to address surprise bills, insurers and health care providers oppose the other side’s preferred solutions.
Many plastic surgeons don’t participate in health plans, even when providing emergency care at a hospital. Too often that catches patients off guard.
Three-quarters of people urge action to keep patients from facing high medical costs when their insurance doesn’t cover the care, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
No one told a Washington state woman she was racking up massive out-of-pocket charges during a month-long emergency stay in an Oregon hospital. For six months, she and her husband were haunted by looming debt — and bill collectors.
The president laid out a series of goals, including lowering prescription prices, pursuing an end to the HIV epidemic and boosting funding for childhood cancers.
The recent declaration by President Donald Trump that taming unexpected medical bills would be a top priority for his administration echoed through the halls of Congress.
Patients and doctors got a chance to share their nightmarish experiences with medical bills with President Donald Trump and other top White House officials.