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Out-of-network services can cause unexpected debt

Don't think that you'll always be able to avoid medical debt just because you have health insurance. Reports have shown that many people with unexpected debt end up facing these bills because they accidentally use medical facilities or physicians that are not in their insurance networks.

Typically, insurance coverage will work just with a pre-established network. For standard care, people often look around until they find the right doctors, and it's not a big issue. If they are confused about the network and accidentally go to a different physician, though, the insurance company may refuse to cover costs for a service that is usually covered.

This can happen even at approved facilities. For example, one man had to pay around $1,000 after going to an emergency room that was covered. The reason the insurance company gave him was that a number of doctors who worked with him weren't personally in the network, so he had to pay for their services himself, despite being in the right building.

The same thing happened to another person who had surgery on his shoulder. The anesthesiologist on the team wasn't in the network, though the other doctors were, and he had to pay about $2,000 as a result.

This can also be an issue any time there is an emergency, as people may just rush to the nearest care center without taking the time to check the network. When a life is on the line, it's hard to prioritize reading the fine print on an insurance form.

If you're facing medical debt from a situation involving out-of-network care and you don't know how you'll pay it back, be sure to look into all of your options in Pennsylvania.

Source: WRAL, "Unexpected medical bills often result from insurance network confusion," accessed March 02, 2016

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