Big Insurance Must Help End Surprise Medical Billing

It is a serious financial problem that far too many African Americans – from impoverished individuals to working-class families — face these days in the bewilderingly complicated health-care market: Getting hit with an unexpected bill after a hospital stay or visit to the emergency room.

Known as “surprise medical billing,” these unexpected costs arise when a patient goes to a hospital for emergency or non-emergency care, only to find out afterwards that one of the medical providers who administered care was not covered in the patient’s insurance network.

This outrageous situation benefits one group and one group alone: powerful insurance executives, who have managed to get off the financial hook for such bills, even as insurers shrink insurance coverage networks to wring more and more profits out of the system.

But this predatory practice is overwhelming to a family already dealing with the emotional and financial burdens of a medical crisis, typically adding thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses that can wipe out savings accounts or otherwise strain tight household budgets.

So, what can be done to stop and end surprise medical billing?

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Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at [email protected]


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