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Patient receives a surprise bill from a hospital they’ve never been to

surprise billAfter a routine checkup with their primary care doctor, a patient was charged an extra $372 “hospital” fee by the Massachusetts General Hospital six miles away. They had never even set foot in that hospital.

One reason hospitals are able to charge fees for offsite facilities is the growing practice of buying up local physician practices in a community.

Another patient treated at an urgent care center was charged far more than the $50 listed on their insurance card for their visit because the hospital billed the patient for an outpatient hospital visit.

These surprise hospital bills, and more, were shared with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, as reported by the Boston Globe. After investigating, Healey’s office alleged that hospitals were violating consumer protection laws by failing to fairly disclose the fees.

The fees hospitals charge patients for visiting their offsite physician facilities has also drawn scrutiny from Medicare, insurers and consumers who say the fees are unfair and drive up health care costs. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission has recommended outlawing facility fees in certain circumstances.

Have you received a surprising and confusing hospital bill? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.