The cost of healthcare is front and center of the current political debate. This particular issue is like a large onion, it has many layers. I have been following this debate for some time, but these articles are not intended to support any particular agenda. I did come across a recent report that clearly highlights the need for some type of insurance reform, not necessarily government intervention.
Apparently, a recent survey has shown that one out of five patients who entered a hospital for an elective surgical procedure and were fully in-network with their insurance provider received a surprise bill following their procedure. Let me say this again, despite going to an in-network hospital for an approved surgical procedure, 21% of the patients received out-of-network bills. None of the patients were aware that they were going to have these bills, some of which were hefty. Most health insurance companies, particularly those associated with large health care systems, make it clear that using an in-network provider is essential to keeping the patient’s costs down. What is not usually explained is that many health care systems have arrangements with out-of-network providers, such as anesthesiologists, emergency room physicians, and others who will be billing separately.
This seems a bit unfair and insurers, or the health care facilities themselves, should be more transparent about who is supplying various services and what the fee and billing arrangements will be. It may be helpful to ask about out-of-network services being provided for any elective surgery.