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Analysis

More than 60% of Medicare Enrollees Concerned With Surprise Medical Bills

By Jack O'Brien  
   February 18, 2020

Additionally, almost 40% of enrollees said having an in-network provider was their top concern when receiving medical care.

Nearly two-thirds of Medicare enrollees are worried about receiving surprise medical bills, according to an eHealth survey released Tuesday morning.

Medicare beneficiaries overwhelmingly stated that surprise medical bills are their top concern when receiving medical care, outpacing other concerns about copays and deductible payments.

Additionally, almost 40% of enrollees said having an in-network provider was their top concern when receiving medical care.

The survey comes less than two weeks after the House Ways & Means Committee released its proposal to curb surprise medical billing. The proposal includes a provision to establish an independent mediated negotiation process for billing disagreements.

Related: House Ways & Means Committee Releases Surprise Billing Legislation

Related: Ex-HHS Secretary Shalala Threatens to Vote 'No' on Surprise Medical Billing Measure

"Our survey shows that surprise medical bills aren't only a concern for the pre-Medicare population but for Medicare enrollees as well," Scott Flanders, CEO of eHealth, said in a statement.

As it relates to plan selection, almost 33% of survey respondents said that out-of-pocket costs were their main concern.

Having coverage for preferred medical providers was a close second at 31% while paying monthly premiums accounted for 21% of responses, down from 33% in a survey taken this time last year.

Opinion: Who's Profiting From Patients' Outrageous Medical Bills?

Several studies have been released recently that show how widespread and costly the issue of surprise billing is within the healthcare industry, especially for consumers.

A study published in JAMA last week found that nearly 20% of patients undergoing elective surgeries at in-network facilities received a surprise medical bill.

Additionally, a study published in Health Affairs in December found that annual healthcare spending for patients with employer-sponsored health insurance would drop by $40 billion if specialists were not allowed to bill out-of-network.

Related: Eliminating Out-of-Network Billing Could Reduce Spending by $40B

Related: Surprise Billing Prevalent in Elective Surgeries

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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