“Surprise medical bills have received a lot of attention recently for the financial distress they cause their recipients. But they can also lead to the rest of us paying more for health care,” Axios reports.
“Emergency room doctors can use the threat of high out-of-network bills to negotiate higher payment rates with insurers, experts say, raising premiums.”
“If an insurer doesn’t agree to a high enough rate, there’s the option to charge for out-of-network care. This can result in higher emergency room rates across the board.”
Examples: A new Yale study found that when 1 of the 2 largest ER staffing firms, EmCare, entered a hospital, total payments to the insurer increased by 122%.
The second firm, TeamHealth, used the threat of leaving a network to get 68% higher in-network rates. Overall, ER doctors’ in-network rates were 266% of what Medicare pays, which is higher than most other specialists.
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