A doctor discusses the problem of surprise billing for ER patients.
Seems like a fair position to allow billing by out of network doctors, but keeping within a reasonable amount.
Unfortunately, it may not be the equitable solution. I would suggest that ER patients need to be shielded from surprise bills by the very definition of the type of treatment. It is emergency treatment, after all. A patient often has little choice in the matter and may not even be conscious. Most health insurance plans I know of have a blanket fee for ER and they don’t specify where that service can take place. Any ER should do.
So doctors that work on call for ER should expect to abide by the compensation schedule the insurance companies have with the ER’s.
Next is the surprise bill for elective treatments that might bring in other physicians during surgery for whatever reason. They should accept the billing arrangement with the patient’s lead physician’s plan or not treat. Some of those “surprises” happen when the patient is under anesthesia and is tantamount to a form of extortion, in my opinion.
Of course, this mess is a result of the myriad of insurance companies and plans that put patient care not about the choice of physician, but rather the health plan. And face it, who knows what services might be needed when signing up for health insurance, so picking networks and specialists is almost pointless.