Insurance companies create “networks” of doctors and hospitals. If we see a doctor that’s “out of network,” we pay more for that visit and the doctors, paradoxically, get paid less. Insurance companies happily pocket the difference.
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It’s hard to believe such a scheme is legal, but it is. It’s called “surprise medical billing” and it gives insurance companies every incentive to narrow their networks in order to maximize their profits at the expense of patients, doctors and hospitals. The problem is especially bad for rural hospitals and doctors that are already on financially shaky ground.
Congress should eliminate this practice entirely, financially protect patients and insure the survival of hospitals and doctors in communities that need them most.