Surprise Medical Bills Lead Patients to Change Hospitals

Patients who receive surprise medical bills are more likely to change hospitals than those who do not, a new study has found.

According to an analysis of behavior by obstetrics patients,

…11 percent of mothers experienced a surprise out-of-network bill with their first delivery, and this was associated with an increase of 13 percent in the odds of switching hospitals for the second delivery, compared to mothers who did not experience a surprise bill.

The study found that this switching often paid dividends for those who switched:

Mothers who switched hospitals after a surprise out-of-network bill reduced their relative risk of receiving a second surprise medical bill by 56 percent, compared to mothers who did not switch after receiving their first surprise bill.

NASH staff recently met with staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to share private safety-net hospitals’ views on this emerging issue.

Learn more about the implications for hospitals when they send surprise medical bills in the Health Affairs study “Consumers’ Responses to Surprise Medical Bills in Elective Situations.”

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