Surprise Medical Bills Even for Patients with Insurance

Patients with comprehensive health insurance are still getting hit with unforeseen and often substantial out-of-network bills, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

KKF analyzed medical bills from large-employer health insurance plans and found that about 18 percent – or nearly one in five – of inpatient admissions result in out-of-network charges. And patients who were careful to use only in-network facilities were not always protected, with 15 percent of admissions at covered facilities racking up out-of-network charges.

The study underscores the vulnerability even the best-insured patients may feel in the U.S. medical system.

Patients in emergency situations have limited ability to control the care they receive and from whom they receive it. Even when the facility is in-network, the professional services may not be and the patient often is not in a position to direct their care.

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