Out-of-network billing

For Your Health

A new study from Stanford University suggests that out-of-network billing is common for privately insured patients, even when they are treated at an in-network hospital.

PALO ALTO, CA (NBC NEWS) – More privately insured patients are getting hit with out-of-network bills despite going to in-network hospitals.

Researchers studied six years worth of hospital records involving nearly 19 million patients who had all gone to in-network hospitals.

Overall, nearly 40-percent of all ER visits and 37-percent of all hospital admissions resulted with an out-of-network charge.

And, the cost of these unexpected charges has also gone up.

For ER visits, the average cost increased from over $200 to over $600 while for admissions it increased from $800 to over $2,000.

A common example of an out-of-network charge was ambulance transport.

The scientists say the percentage of ER visits with an out-of-network bill increased from over 32-percent to nearly 43-percent.

And hospital admissions increased from over 26-percent to 42-percent.

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