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A variety of issues keep consumers up at night, worried about the cost of their health care. But a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that Americans’ No. 1 worry is surprise medical bills.
Nearly 40 percent of the 1,200 people surveyed said they’d received a large bill they didn’t expect in the past year, with 1 in 8 saying the bill was $2,000 or more. The concern about surprise bills topped a host of other concerns, including rising prescription drug costs, paying utilities or their mortgage.
Those polled blamed out-of-network doctors or hospitals who bill patients the difference between what insurance would pay and what the provider thinks a procedure should cost. That’s known as “balance billing” and is a common culprit for surprise bills.
Voices for Affordable Health recently shared a story about a teacher who had a heart attack and received a $109,000 bill from an emergency room that wasn’t in his network. The story went viral and led the hospital to reduce the bill to $332. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Check out our consumer tips on surprise medical bills at Voices for Affordable Health. They include checking your network – when you’re not in an emergency – or asking for cost estimates before elective surgery. We also have information about what to do if you get a surprise bill.
Have you been surprised by a large medical bill you didn’t expect? Share your story with Voices.