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We’re all well aware that adding a new member to the family brings additional expenses. If you’re a planner on a budget, you’ve likely researched your birthing plan, as well as which hospitals and obstetricians are part of your insurance plan’s network.
Unfortunately, even in-network hospitals might contract with out-of-network providers, such as anesthesiologists. And that can result in patients being billed for whatever their insurance did not cover – a practice called “balance billing”.
FierceHealthcare recently reported on a study which found that 11 percent of mothers received a surprise bill from the hospital following their first delivery. Not surprisingly, those mothers were much more likely to choose a different hospital for future births. Surprise medical bills are a growing problem. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from September found that 67 percent of people worry about unexpected medical bills.
The study, published in the March edition of HealthAffairs used a large national sample of medical claims for obstetric patients who had two deliveries between 2007 and 2014, and who had employer-sponsored health insurance. They found that women who got a surprise bill from their first delivery were 13 percent more likely to change hospitals for the next one.
The study goes on to recommend a federal law that limits patients’ liability for out-of-network bills received for both elective and emergency procedures.
What about you? Have you switched hospitals after receiving a surprise medical bill from giving birth or after another elective procedure? Did a so-called “surprise bill” prompt you to do additional research or ask questions you didn’t ask before? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.