Insurance firms should be blamed for surprise doctor bills: ACEP

Insurance firms should be blamed for surprise doctor bills: ACEP

Many insurance companies are misleading patients by selling self-styled ‘affordable’ health policies that provide very little coverage until large deductibles are met, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

ACEP President Dr. Rebecca Parker argued that insurance companies and not emergency room (ER) physicians should be blamed for ‘surprise’ medical bills that patients receive after ER visits.

Dr. Parker said in a statement, “The study does not discuss that insurance companies are misleading patients by selling so-called 'affordable' policies that cover very little until large deductibles are met - then blaming physicians for charges.”

The ACEP president’s comment surfaced after two Yale economists, viz. Zack Cooper and Finoa Scott Morton, issued a call for states to put an end to the practice that allows physicians to surprise their patients with larger than expected medical bills after ER visits.

People typically show up for treatment at a hospital that is in the patient’s insurance network but the hospital might have hired an independent physician who opts not to be part of the network.

As per a new analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, unexpected medical bills average $622. In one case, a patient grumbled that he was billed an additional $19,603 a visit to an emergency room where the additional costs weren’t covered by insurance. It also revealed that 22 per cent of visits involved patients going to an in-network ER staffed by out-of-network physicians.


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