Monday, August 22, 2016

Nothing new under the Sun

We've been writing about Balance Billing and "PARE" claims for almost 11 years (here for example). Briefly, the issue is that there is essentially a class of providers who, although they may ply their trade inside a network-approved facility, are nonetheless not contracted with a given (or any). network. Thus, even if you carefully choose an in-network facility and surgeon (for example), odds are your anesthesiologist and radiologist are not in-network, and can charge you pretty much whatever they wish.

It's not a new problem, but that doesn't stop some folks from lamenting that it's just the latest way for providers to ding patients:

"It’s getting harder and harder to keep medical costs within your insurance network—even during a single hospital stay."

And they've coined a new term for the practice: "drive-by doctoring." This of course makes zero sense: generally, such providers are well-established, with good reputations and solid credentials. They've just figured out a sweet deal: become the only pathologist in a given hospital, refuse to join any network, and bill away. Now, whether or not this is "right" or moral or "fair" is up for discussion, but that it's a new phenomenon isn't.

To be fair, Slate does point out that some states (Pennsylvania, for instance) have protections against such practices (and we discussed the current state of the law nationally here).

There's really not a lot one can do about this, other than to just be aware, and then try to negotiate a better price (which may be difficult, seeing as how the services have already been delivered).
blog comments powered by Disqus