Out-of-network Freestanding Emergency Rooms (FSERs) can be 10x more expensive than urgent care centers and 2x more expensive than in-network hospital ERs.
Out-of-network FSERs are misleading and intentionally confusing. They look like urgent care centers and set up shop in the same kind of residential commercial areas, but charge way more than an urgent care for urgent-care services. When they tell Texans they “accept your insurance,” that does not mean the same thing as “in your network.” Don’t be mislead.
Independent FSERs, not affiliated with hospitals, are chronically out-of-network. It’s a lucrative business model that benefits them financially to stay out of network. Patients that go to in-network facilities and providers are protected from high prices, over-billing and surprise billing. Out-of-network FSER patiences are not.
Out-of-network FSERs will say that insurance has to cover you whether you visit a FSER or an in-network hospital ER. While it’s true insurance plans must cover out-of-network FSERs at the same coverage level (co-pay and deductible) as in-network ERs, patients are NOT protected form over-billing, over-charging, high prices and surprise billing at FSERs. This can mean a mountain of medical debt for Texans who visit a FSER for a common cold or similar non-emergency condition.
Visits to the ER – and especially visits to freestanding ERs – are resulting in Texans receiving outrageous surprise out-of-network medical bills for thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars.