Every year, nearly 136 million patients visit an emergency department in the United States. Most of these patients assume they will pay less out of pocket by visiting a hospital that is part of their coverage network. The reality for many, however, is quite different.
Far too often, a patient’s trip to an in-network emergency department may result in bills totaling thousands of dollars. In fact, millions of patients face surprise medical bills at prices they cannot afford and for care they did not choose – or they did not even know they received in the first place. The consequences are significant: financial stress; fighting a complicated, confusing bureaucracy; harassed by collection agencies; and often legal action for non-payment.