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Consumer Advocates, Lawmakers Aim to Prevent ‘Surprise’Medical Bills

Unexpected financial complications can arise when out-of-network doctors and facilities aren’t clear up front about their status

Unexpected medical bills -- also known as “surprise” bills -- hit consumers when they’re particularly vulnerable, when they’re recovering from an illness or medical procedure.

The problem occurs when a patient visits an in-network doctor or facility covered by his or her medical insurance but is later billed for an out-of-network service. One common example is being billed at full rate by an anesthesiologist because he or she doesn’t take the patient’s insurance. In other words, an in-network and an out-of-network provider are working side by side -- and the patient has no reason to suspect that they’re not both covered by his medical insurance.

That helps explain why consumer advocate NJ for Health Care -- among others -- is pressing legislators to pass a bill that would bring a new level of transparency cost containment to out-of-network medical bills.

Read the full story by WHYY/NewsWorks, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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