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This Visualizing Health Policy infographic examines unexpected and “surprise” medical bills in the United States. Out-of-network charges typically expose patients to higher cost-sharing when they use services and may lead to balance billing—in which health care providers bill patients directly, often at an unexpectedly higher rate. In the past 2 years, 1 in 5 insured adults had an unexpected medical bill from an out-of-network provider. Overall, two-thirds of adults are worried about affording unexpected medical bills for themselves and their family. In emergency departments across the country, 18% of visits result in at least 1 surprise bill, but rates vary by state. Politically, majorities of Democrats and Republicans support government action to protect patients against these surprise bills.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Original data and detailed source information are available at http://kff.org/JAMA_2-11-2020.
Pollitz K, Lopes L, Kearney A, et al. US Statistics on Surprise Medical Billing. JAMA. 2020;323(6):498. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.0065
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