via Wall Street Journal
The growth of insurance plans built around small networks of health-care providers is fueling new fights over surprise medical bills, when patients inadvertently get care from out-of-network doctors.
Providers and insurers are blaming each other for sticking patients with higher bills in such cases, and nearly two dozen states have passed or are considering legislation to protect consumers.
“This issue is taking off like wildfire,” said Betsy Imholz, special projects director at Consumers Union, which has collected stories from some 2,300 patients of surprise bills ranging from $50 to thousands of dollars.
Surprise bills often occur when patients receive care at an in-network hospital, but end up being treated by an emergency physician, anesthesiologist, radiologist or other hospital-based specialist who doesn’t accept the same insurance.