Kaiser Health News and NPR have been collaborating on a series called Bill of the Month. This piece by KHN’s Chad Terhune was one of the most memorable. Like many of these articles, it got results – the story got a ton of attention, outrage was generated and voila, the bill was lowered. It was cited by a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation curbing the practice of “surprise billing.”
Surprise medical bills are not new but they certainly have become a big story nationwide. In most of these stories, the focus is on the consumer, as it should be.
But there is another angle to this story that journalists should not overlook: what state legislatures are doing to prevent consumers from getting unexpectedly dinged for amounts that can total thousands of dollars. Continue reading
We’ve all read about patients who were careful to choose an in-network doctor or hospital but still ended up with some care provided out of network – and unanticipated bills.
One of the most memorable accounts was in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s “Paying Till It Hurts” New York Times series, when she recounted the story of the patient who – unbeknownst to him – had an out-of-network assistant surgeon alongside his carefully selected in-network surgeon. The assistant submitted a $117,000 bill. Continue reading