Far too many Americans face out-of-control surprise medical bills, often for emergency care, despite the fact that they spend their hard-earned money on health insurance to protect them.
Patients wake up from surgery, expecting to pay their standard co-pay, only to find out the anesthesiologist was out-of-network. A doctor sends a sample out for analysis, unaware that the pathology lab doesn’t take the patient’s insurance, and the patient is responsible for covering the cost. In all of these cases, the patient doesn’t have the time or the information to make a choice to avoid a crippling medical bill.
Earlier this week I spoke to one Ohioan whose daughter was billed more than $3,000 for emergency room care after a medical emergency – despite having two different forms of health insurance. Weeks later, she received an outrageous bill because the closest hospital was out-of-network.
When you’re rushed to the hospital for a heart attack, the last thing you or your loved ones should have to worry about is whether the ambulance is taking you to an in-network hospital.
That’s why I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues, including Senator Portman, to introduce the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act. It would ensure that patients are only required to pay the in-network co-pay required by their insurance for emergency services, even if they’re treated at an out-of-network facility or by an out-of-network provider.
It would also protect patients in certain circumstances if their in-network doctor orders a service – like lab work, or an X-ray – from an out-of-network provider, or if someone goes to an in-network facility but is treated by an out-of-network provider, like an anesthesiologist.
Ohioans work hard and pay their insurance premiums every month to have peace of mind, and avoid the financially devastating situation of surprise medical bills. They shouldn’t have to worry that they’ll be stuck with out-of-control bills if they’re rushed to the emergency room.