Here’s What to Do If You’re Surprised by a Medical Bill

Many patients may be surprised by the cost of healthcare coverage in their area, but what may be more alarming is the price of unexpected medical services from out of network doctors, according to CNN.

Kelly A. Kyanko, who gave birth to her son in 2013, experienced additional surprise medical charges from an out of network pediatrician when delivery room doctors noticed a potential complication with her child’s birth:

Kyanko received a bill for about $600 from the pediatrician who had been called into her delivery room. Turns out, the pediatrician was out-of-network. “This was very shocking,” said Kyanko “It was an emergency, there was something potentially wrong with the baby and they needed someone there.

If you do face surprise medical bills, Robin Gelburd, president of the healthcare reform seeking organization FAIR Health, advises you immediately take action.

Gelburd suggests a patient first check “to see whether their states offer any protections with respect to surprise out-of-network bills or emergency bills.”

States like New York, Connecticut and California all have protections in place against surprise out of network medical charges, and many states are expected to follow in passing patient-protective laws.  If no protective legislation is in place, the next step is to talk to your physicians about the prices and compare them with what other patients are paying in your area.  Gelburd recommends patients to look up the price of healthcare services on his site:

A number of consumers look at our site to see what are typical charges in their area for out-of network services and use that data to have productive conversations with a provider to see if there’s room for negotiation.

Surprise medical charges often times can be fought, and as Gelburd points out, it is very important to be vigilant when looking at medical bills.