The average cost of care for an out-of-network doctor in the united states is around $620, which many Americans have trouble paying. The issue with out of network costs is that many patients do not realize that the doctors treating them may be out of network, as they are dealing with their own conditions:
Patients are obviously not often in a position to choose who cares for them during an emergency room visit, or are too concerned about their own condition to think about whether a doctor is out-of-network. When hospitals and physicians are outside of an individual’s health insurance provider’s network, they pay higher prices for care.
The issue with out-of-network services is that the patient may not even see the services performed, which is the case for lab tests:
The problem happens when in-network offices using out-of-network services, such as laboratories, and the patient is often charged with the responsibility of avoiding this kind of out-of-network bill shock. In emergency situations, it is even more overwhelming for a patient to think of or remember to ask hospital workers if everyone they’re meeting is within their health insurance provider’s network.
Out-of-network penalties have become a bankruptcy-inducing problem in America, and even in expected hospital visits patients may not plan for the cost of these services.