When you head into the emergency room, you might assume that the doctors you see are hospital employees who accept the same insurance plans as their employer. But nearly two-thirds of hospitals now staff their ERs with freelance physicians who might not accept your insurance plan, meaning you’ll be on the hook for whatever your insurer doesn’t pay. In addition to the potential added financial burden, some patients now have to drive far out of their way to find an ER that won’t hit them with a surprise medical bill. [More]
Most of us know that it could cost us everything we own if we go to a hospital that isn’t covered by our insurance plan. But what if you’re unconscious and have no say in the matter? That’s the case for a Wisconsin woman who owes $50,000 to a hospital that claims she should just pay up and be happy she’s still alive. [More]
When a medical emergency hits, the tendency might be to simply go to the nearest hospital and hope to get seen right away — and if you’re truly in dire shape then this is probably good advice because even if you’re not admittedly immediately, you are surrounded by nurses and doctors. But for people whose medical needs are urgent but not URGENT, there might be a faster-moving emergency room a few miles down the road. [More]
One of the nation’s largest medical debt collectors just got a bit smaller after it agreed to stop operating in Minnesota over allegations that the company staffed hospital emergency rooms with its agents in order to get people to pay up on any owed debts before they received additional care. [More]
In order to curb medical costs, Washington state lawmakers have capped the amount of annual “non-emergency” visits Medicaid patients can make to emergency rooms at three. Furious about the seemingly arbitrary restriction on patients’ rights, a group of doctors has sued the state over the measure. [More]
Emergency room bills bring a special sort of sticker shock, because they don’t usually show up until weeks later, and then come packed with all sorts of over-inflated fees and add-ons. The New York Times calls them “notoriously high and perplexing,” and although it’s unlikely you’ll ever end up paying the full amount listed on the bill, there are strategies you can use to bring that initial figure down. [More]
One day, a California woman woke up to discover her t-shirt soaked in blood. The source? Her breast. She immediately went to the emergency room, and the cause of the bleeding was eventually found to be a benign tumor. However, her health insurance denied the claim, stating that she “reasonably should have known that an emergency did not exist.” Yes, copious amounts of blood flowing from your nipples is really something you want to wait out.
Would You Take Your (Really Hot) Kid To The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department And Trauma Center?
The once-popular—surely it isn’t still?—teenaged sexpot clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch is shelling out $10 million to build a new emergency room and trauma center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Now a group is speaking out against the idea of prominently naming the kids’ ER after the store, which the hospital has been hinting at in announcements. The reason the hospital is called “Nationwide Children’s Hospital” is because Nationwide Insurance gave it $50 million. Up next: the Budweiser End Zone Birthing Center, and then the American Apparel Teenaged Pregnancy Wing.
If you’re black, Hispanic, or “Asian/other,” you might want to make sure your voice is heard loud and clear the next time you have to make a trip to the ER. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that over the past 13 years, white patients were prescribed powerful opioid painkillers 31% of the time, versus 23% for blacks, 24% for Hisanics, and 28% for Asians and “others.”