The issue of surprise medical billing impacts families across the country, including right here in New York. Often, these unexpected medical bills create financial hardships that can cripple families.
As someone who recently had experienced a major medical issue out of state, the incident was certainly traumatic, but nearly as traumatic was my trip each night to the mailbox and the fear having an unanticipated medical bill waiting for me.
Why do we have a system where insurance companies determine what doctors and hospitals are “in network” or “out of network?” Imagine being far away from home, suffering a serious injury like I did, beginning recovery and then getting a bill for hundreds, thousands or even tens-of-thousands of dollars because the insurance company decided the ambulance service, the doctor or maybe even the hospital wasn’t in their network?
This isn’t fair. If you have insurance, it should cover you no matter where you seek care or from whom, especially in life-threatening situations. Luckily, in New York, our state leaders require Independent Dispute Resolution as a method to resolve issues like these. However, this isn’t the law of the land if you get hurt out of state, IDR might not apply.
We need Congress to champion proposals that put patients first and protecting their access to medical care regardless of what state you are in. We need Congress to enact IDR and put patients first – always.