Richmond anesthesiologist lawsuits show surprise bills run deep in US Richmond anesthesiologists’ lawsuits against patients show surprise bills run deep in US
The insurance covered most of the costs of the hospital stay, he said. He didn’t pay much attention to an invoice he received from
“Wow, seriously? The 30-year-old CIO remembers thinking after receiving the subpoena. Loney didn’t have that kind of money on hand. His plan was to try to negotiate the amount or “take another credit card to pay it off.”
Loney’s is a classic and notorious type of surprise bill that
Commonwealth said it was networked for Loney’s insurer, UnitedHealthcare. But the insurer rejected the anesthesia charges because it said its primary care doctor was out of the network, according to claims records.
The federal No Surprises law, adopted in late 2020, has been hailed by consumer advocates for banning such practices. Departure
âIt’s good that there are surprise billing protectionsâ¦ but you’re still going to see lawsuits,â said
The law will come into effect too late for Loney and many others struggling with surprise off-grid bills in states that don’t already ban the practice.
“This does not prohibit the surprise bills that are happening now in states that have no protections” against them, said
Federal law also does nothing to reduce another nasty and often surprising kind of bill – large, direct payments for networked medical care that many Americans cannot afford and may not have realized. ‘they were incurring.
Two substantial changes in recent years have shifted the risk to patients more. Employers and other payers have reduced their provider networks to exclude some high-cost hospitals and doctors, putting them out of the network for more patients. They have also dramatically increased deductibles – the amount patients have to pay each year before insurance begins to contribute.
The No Surprises Act addresses the first change. He does nothing to fix the second.
For a glimpse into the past and future of surprise and contested medical bills,
âThis whole problem with the insurance not covering my bills is a headache,â said
“I’m a teacher,” she said, standing in the hall at
Commonwealth is one of the most active judgment-seeking creditors in the
In many cases, she has initiated garnishment proceedings, in which creditors garnish a portion of patients’ wages.
Describing itself as “the largest private anesthesiology practice” in the center
Commonwealth has said more than 99% of the patients it treats are members of insurance plans it accepts. He only enters wages as a “last resort” and only if the patient has the capacity to pay, said
âOver the past three years, we’ve taken legal action with just over 1% of our patients,â mostly for amounts owed under franchise or network co-pay, Williams said. Almost half of the bills are paid before the hearing date, he said.
“This is the first time I have found myself in this situation,” she said, sitting outside Chesterfield courthouse with half a dozen other Commonwealth defendants.
Because patients typically have little or no control over who refers them, Brown said, anesthesiologists are at less risk to their business and their reputation than other medical specialists by using aggressive collection tactics.
The specialty is often “one of the worst offenders because they don’t depend on their reputation to get patients,” she said. “They are not going to lose business because they engage in these really aggressive practices that are ruining their patients’ finances.”
The average annual deductible for individual EI coverage has increased from
This means that millions of patients are essentially uninsured for care that could cost them a substantial portion of their income. Surveys have repeatedly shown that many consumers say they would struggle to pay an unexpected bill of a few hundred dollars.
Loney’s insurer, UnitedHealthcare, agreed to foot the Commonwealth’s bill for his emergency appendectomy after being contacted by KHN and telling him he had “updated” the information on the claim. Otherwise, Loney said, he couldn’t have paid it off without borrowing the money.
The Commonwealth sued a retiree
âIt’s a lot of money, especially when you have health insurance,â she said.
New research from Cooper and colleagues examining court cases in
âDoctors have the right to be paid like everyone else for their services,â Cooper said. But unaffordable and reimbursable medical bills are “a systemic problem. And this systemic problem generally falls on the backs of the most vulnerable in our population.”
For uninsured patients, Commonwealth matches any financial assistance given by the hospital and will “improve” its financial assistance program in 2022, Williams said.
Two of the nine people sued by Commonwealth and interviewed by KHN during courthouse hearings were Hispanic. Four were black.
“If I ever have extra money to pay it back someday, I will,” said Jefferson, who worked at the Ukrop supermarket for many years before his cancer forced him to go on disability. “But at the moment, my situation does not look good.”
Although she lives on a reduced income, her rent has just gone up, said Jefferson, who also survived lung cancer diagnosed in 2009. The rent is now close to
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