Some medical specialists in the U.S. charge uninsured and out-of-network patients several times more for healthcare services than what they accept from the government insurance plan known as Medicare, says a new study.
Anesthesiologists, certain radiologists and emergency medicine doctors were among the medical specialists who often charged four to six times more than what they accept from Medicare for the same services, researchers found.
"I want to raise awareness of some specialists' profit-driven behaviors," said lead author Ge Bai, of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore. "Then, we can look for solutions."
News reports of patients receiving surprisingly high medical bills after surgeries and other healthcare services led Bai to investigate what doctors accepted from Medicare for those services and what they charged other patients.
For example, a patient with private insurance may go for surgery to a hospital that accepts their health insurance, but one of the doctors involved in their care isn't in their insurer's network. The patient will likely get a very high bill from that out-of-network doctor later on.
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