Stories from You: In New Jersey, Another Numbing Surprise Bill from an Anesthesiologist

Conor Laing
Assistant Policy Analyst

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
Robert from New Jersey

For months, we have been listening to your stories about surprise medical bills.  To date we have received over 200 stories from New Jerseyans about their surprise bills costing hundreds to tens of thousands each. You have shared stories of struggling to pay or spending hours on the phone trying to negotiate down your bills when the outcome has not always worked in your favor. our stories help us, the broader public, and state and federal lawmakers understand how surprise medical bills hurt patients on a human level.  Surprise medical bills cost consumers money, to be sure, but they also cause undue stress and punish people who have done everything they could to be responsible.

Take the story of Robert from New Jersey.  Robert scheduled a hip surgery at a facility on his insurance network.  He did his homework and made certain that his surgeon would be on his network.  He did everything that he was supposed to do to avoid an extra out-of-network charge for his surgery.

So, naturally, Robert received a surprise out-of-network bill totaling $3,000 for the services of an out-of-network anesthesiologist that he never met.  This is something that happens often: a patient needs the services of an anesthesiologist during a procedure, and there is no way for the patient to know whether or not the anesthesiologist in in-network.  The result, in states like New Jersey that do not have strong protections against surprise medical bills, is an expensive and unfair out-of-network charge.

Luckily, Robert’s insurer was understanding and paid the bill. But, Robert wonders, will he be as lucky the next time he needs medical care? Certainly, many consumers in New Jersey are not as lucky and do get stuck with their surprise medical bill. This is why we are pushing the New Jersey Legislature to adopt consumer protections against surprise medical bills that are on the books in states like New York, Connecticut, and Florida.

Tell us your surprise medical bill story and join our campaign to end surprise medical bills! Sign up for our local fight in New Jersey. Thank you to all of you have shared your stories and given time to this campaign.

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2 responses to “Stories from You: In New Jersey, Another Numbing Surprise Bill from an Anesthesiologist”

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