Navigating the health care system today is no easy feat. Patients often attempt to understand their policy and spend countless hours selecting in-network facilities that should provide them with the care they think kis covered under their health insurance. Unfortunately, recent studies have revealed that despite their best efforts, many patients are left with additional medical bills that take them by surprise.
Unexpected medical bills have lasting consequences for many Americans
According to Modern Healthcare, a recent study revealed that one out of every seven Americans have received unexpected medical bills even when they have received their care at a hospital that was considered part of their network. This is particularly frustrating for the people who spend hours on the phone with their insurance representatives, figuring out exactly where they need to go and what steps they need to take to get the medical care that they require without paying more than they need to.
These unexpected medical bills can leave families with lasting debt that is difficult to manage. Even on a hospital payment plan, patients may be forced to deal with monthly bills that they cannot pay alongside their mortgage, car payment and utilities.
How out-of-network claims arise from in-network care facilities
It’s a bit confounding that Americans who purposefully select in-network hospitals for the treatment that they need still end up with bills from out-of-network providers. The problem lies in the fact that in-network hospitals may contract with providers, such as anesthesiologists or lab workers, who are employed by an out-of-network facility. The bills for these services will come from the out-of-network facility in which the individual was employed, so the patient will receive a surprise bill that is likely much higher than they would have anticipated.
These out-of-network claims from in-network facilities are a problem that most people across the country are dealing with, but the severity of the problem varies greatly by state. For example, Minnesota leads the country in having the least amount of out-of-network claims from in-network hospitals, with 1.7 percent of in-network hospital admissions resulting in out-of-network bills. In Florida, however, the situation is much more dire. About 26 percent of all in-network hospital admissions result in out-of-network fees.
Unfortunately, patients don’t have a lot of control over this situation. Once they have been admitted, they are going to get the care they need from the physicians and medical personnel that are available. They may be able to ask if their anesthesiologist is an in-network provider, but they aren’t likely to get a quick and firm answer before the IV has been inserted. Ultimately, this is an issue that must be addressed by state and federal lawmakers, who are constantly working to fix the flaws in the healthcare system.
Faced with mounting medical debt?
For some, unexpected medical debt arises from the happiest occasions, such as the birth of a child in a hospital that contracted with out-of-network labs and physicians. For others, this crippling debt is just another challenge they are working to overcome, as they battle a terminal illness or manage chronic health issues.
Regardless of the circumstances, medical debt should not prevent you from living your life to the fullest. If you are in need of a bankruptcy attorney to help you manage your medical debt, contact our law firm today to set up a consultation appointment with one of our qualified lawyers.