Suvery shows one in three Hoosiers are surprised by medical bills

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By: Mary Kuhlman/Indiana News Service

INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly one in three Americans has experienced the pain of a “surprise” medical bill in the past two years, according to a new national survey.

Chuck Bell, Consumers Union program director, said these unexpected medical bills can range anywhere from $25 to $10,000 and more.

“It’s not always easy for patients to avoid these bills,” he said. “Despite your best efforts to stay in-network, sometimes you are going to get an out-of-network provider and be slapped with a fee that you really didn’t expect and can’t really control.”

Bell said only 28 percent of those responding to their national survey were satisfied with how their issue was resolved, and that 87 percent of people in the survey did not know which agency in state government handles complaints about health insurance.

“What we are trying to do is to hook consumers up with resources that can help them,” he said, “and so we created an online complaint tool so consumers can easily find their state insurance departments, and also a nonprofit consumer-assistance program, if their state has one.”

The survey of more than 2,000 adult U.S. residents was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The survey results are online at ConsumersUnion.org.