Surprise ER bill could lead to sticker shock

(ABC News) – When you or someone you love is sick, ambulances whisk you to where the doctors are.

A trip to the emergency room can, of course, save your life.

But it could also send you into shock when the bill arrives — saddled with thousands of dollars of medical bills from an out-of-network doctor.

These surprise medical bills have many experts concerned, since few patients would pause to ask an ER doctor, “Hey, are you in my insurance network?”

A new article from researchers at Yale report, that many ER visits involve costly out-of-network treatment.

The researchers studied more than two million visits to the emergency room.

On average more than one in five doctors involved in the emergencies were out-of-network for the patient.

In some communities, out-of-network docs accounting for 89 percent of ER claims.

And in these cases, insurance companies only pay a small portion of the bill.

Patients left holding the bag, shelling out, on average, $622.

In some states, laws protect patients from these surprise costs.

But in many cases, the charges are hard to avoid, at least for now.

A situation that unfortunately may leave those recovering from emergency situations, with one more surprise from which to recover.

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