Hospitals send surprise medical bills to patients who, often unknowingly, receive care from an out-of-network physician; these bills are typically several times the cost of care from an in-network physician and can be financially devastating.1,2 Prior research has shown that hospital charge master prices, specifically the “markups” greater than Medicare reimbursement rates in medical bills for out-of-network care,1 vary widely across hospitals and departments within hospitals. As of September 2019, the US Congress is considering several approaches to protect patients from surprise billing, including limiting the degree of markup.3 This cross-sectional study characterized markups from 2012 through 2016 and examined associations of markup with hospital characteristics by focusing on charges in 2 specialties common in surprise medical billing, emergency medicine and anesthesiology,1 using internal medicine as a reference.
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Xu T. Markups on Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology Services in the United States From 2012 to 2016. JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 11, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.5141
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