A new report in Health Affairs measured the financial impact surprise medical bills had on adult patients with private health insurance between 2001 and 2016. Researchers found that emergency (ER) physicians retained a larger share of what they initially charged (sticker price) when patients were unexpectedly out-of-network compared to those who were not. Patients who likely had a surprise bill ended up paying ER physicians more than 10 times as much as those who did not, according to the report. Patients with likely surprise bills paid on average $151 in out-of-pocket payments compared with roughly $15 for those without.
Researchers used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to measure how much privately insured emergency patients paid when they likely received a surprise bill and how much physicians received in these situations.
- Emergency Physicians Recover A Higher Share Of Charges From Out-Of-Network Care Than From In-Network Care. Health Affairs. April 2021