Surprise medical billing is one of the most urgent topics in health care.
Too often after a hospital procedure or visit to an emergency room patients get hit with unexpected bills from out-of-network doctors they had no role in choosing. These include assistant surgeons, emergency room doctors and anesthesiologists.
Most research and media coverage focuses on how burdensome these bills are for the patients who receive them. As health economists and policy analysts, we think there is a broader impact of surprise billing that deserves to share the spotlight.
Evidence from our recent study suggests that everyone with commercial health insurance is paying higher premiums today because lawmakers allow the practice of surprise billing to persist. Fixing surprise billing won’t just help the patients being billed; it offers the potential to lower health insurance premiums for everyone.
Patients can typically choose their doctors before