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Editor's Note
September 2016

Health Insurance for Emergency Hospitalization—Isn’t the Point to Pay the Bill?

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1332-1333. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3672

Some years ago I developed appendicitis—my vague abdominal pain turned into rebound tenderness during the course of an afternoon seeing patients. I walked myself from the outpatient area of the hospital to the emergency department, told the attending physician I had appendicitis, climbed onto a gurney, and had an appendectomy before the night was over. As a government employee belonging to a health maintenance organization, my total out-of-pocket costs were zero. I believe that was appropriate given that there was nothing I could have done to prevent appendicitis and I certainly was not in a position to shop for the best price on an appendectomy.

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