Stories from You: In-Network Doctor Using Out-of-Network Labs

Madeleine Anderson
Assistant Policy Analyst

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Nearly one third of consumers say they’ve received a medical bill they didn’t expect. If you’re part of the lucky two thirds that haven’t, you might be thinking that these bills only come from emergency care situations or out-of-network experiences that will likely never happen to you. But as it turns out, even the most ordinary of visits to your regular in-network doctor can bring surprise bills to your doorstep. Just ask Jacqueline.

Picture of Jacqueline
My daughter had a cough that would not go away. We went to the Pediatrician and they tested her for whooping cough which turned out to be positive. I was thankful that the Doctor correctly diagnosed her but I was furious when I received a bill at home for $600.00 for the lab test. I called my insurance company and found out that the lab test was sent to a lab company that was out-of-network for my insurance. This was surprising being that I went to a Doctor that was in-network. I called the lab company and they gave me, what they called, a "deep discount". I ended up paying $79.00 for the lab test but I still didn't agree with the process. This was the second time this happened to my family in less than two years. Previously, I went to the ER and one of the doctors that saw my daughter was not in-network. I received a bill for over $600.00 but, even after several calls/complaints, ended up paying the entire bill. This is not right. They should tell the consumer so that we can have the option of whether or not we want to use that service or not instead of just sending the bill.

Jacqueline did everything right by going to a doctor in-network, yet as she and many others are finding, simply being in an “in-network” office doesn’t guarantee in-network services. The cost this confusion brings to millions of families each year is unacceptable. We believe that when buying health insurance, you should get what you paid for, and that’s why we’re fighting to win protections against surprise medical bills. Sign our national petition today and help spread the word to End Surprise Medical Bills once and for all.

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One response to “Stories from You: In-Network Doctor Using Out-of-Network Labs”

  1. Brandon T. says:

    Petition link seems to be dead. Any updates?? I’m in the same situation, went to an in-network specialist, he told me that my exams would be covered by insurance, then they were sent to an out-of-network laboratory on the other side of the country. Would never have gone to him had I known this was the case, and wondering now what my recourse is.

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