In an emergency, patients often must rush to the nearest emergency room. They usually have no ability to pick the doctors who treat them and typically do not know if those doctors are in their insurance network. In an emergency, it is nearly impossible for Texans to stay in-network for every service they receive, even when they make sure they go to a network hospital. In fact, almost 50% of all ER physician services in Texas are now out of network, and 65% of these happen at network hospitals.
Surprise Bills are Inevitable
In emergencies where patients do not pick their provider or patients are misled about a provider’s network status, care is in many cases followed by expensive and surprise medical bills, often for thousands of dollars. Texas is ground zero for this problem. One in three admissions to a Texas emergency room results in a surprise medical bill, substantially higher than the rest of the nation. These surprise medical bills are expensive and their prices are growing, driving up health care costs for all Texans.
Freestanding ERs Are Part of the Problem
Freestanding ERs are a relatively new, lucrative business model and a huge contributing factor to Texas’ out-of-network emergency care problem, with more than 83% of all out-of-network ER visits happen at FSERs. Consumers are at extreme risk of receiving expensive surprise medical bills from Freestanding ERs. They use confusing advertising and language that misleads patients into believing they accept their insurance plans for full payment, but, in reality, they are chronically out of network. Patients often get slapped with a bill for as much as 20x what an urgent care center would charge for the same service. FSERs are responsible for more than $3 billion in unnecessary health care costs in Texas each year.
End Surprise Billing Once and for All
Over the past decade, Texas leaders have taken steps to protect patients from surprise medical bills and Freestanding ERs, but problems remain. Patients should never be financially penalized with expensive, unexpected medical bills when they receive care from an out-of-network provider they did not choose or when providers mislead them. Join us today in the effort to remove patients from payment disputes that are not their fault by ending surprise billing in Texas once and for all.