February 01, 2020

By: Julie S. Selesnick

  • Patients sometimes get surprise medical bills after receiving care from an out-of-network doctor or visiting an out-of-network facility.
  • The main cause of surprise bills is a practice called “balance billing.” This often occurs when you are seen by an out-of-network doctor at a medical facility in your health plan’s network.
  • Anesthesiologists, emergency room visits, and lab services are among the most common reasons people receive a surprise bill.
  • One out of every seven patients who goes to an in-network hospital receives a bill from an out-of-network provider! 
  • Sometimes you might even be charged a “facility fee” from a clinic or practice you were referred to!
  • Other causes of surprise bills include ambulance rides; issues with your deductible, or coinsurance; or billing errors/fraudulent billing.

If you received a medical bill that you find surprising, call or write to Karen HandorfJulie Selesnick, or Sarah Holz at Cohen Milstein, 1100 New York Avenue NW, 5th Floor Washington DC 20005; 202.408.4600.