Family Receives $3,700 Surprise Bill After Son’s Birth
By Consumers For Quality Care, on April 23, 2019
Laura and Adam Parkinson were happy about the birth of their son Nathan, last year. But just days after the birth the couple found themselves, like 57 percent of Americans, facing a surprise bill. CBS reports that the Parkinsons did their homework and selected an in-network hospital and obstetrician. They tried to avoid any surprise bills. And yet, they found themselves facing a $3,700 bill from an out-of-network anesthesiologist.
"For a doctor that we've seen for five minutes to give us a bill like this. It was crazy," said Adam Parkinson.Parkinson said that the anesthesiologist administered his wife’s epidural. A survey of surprise bills found that anesthesiology accounted for the largest share of out-of-network claims at in-network providers.
"You go to a hospital expecting it to be in network. You don't have to ask a question of every single person who walks in the door, hold on are you in-network," Adam said.The Parkinsons appealed the bill and their insurance agreed to pay a portion of it. Still, they were left with a $1,500 charge they hadn’t planned for. The Parkinsons called Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office about the bill. Eight months later, the bill was dropped. AG Healey says that more federal laws are needed to protect consumers.
"We do have a law here in Massachusetts. It's a consumer law that says you can't hide the ball from consumers. You need to be transparent, you need to make disclosures," Healey said.The Parkinsons are happy they made the decision to contact Healey’s office. After all, a simple question saved them thousands of dollars.