Surprise Billing in Emergency Room Visits: New Study by Zack Cooper and Fiona Scott Morton

Publication date 
November 17, 2016

A new study by Zack Cooper and Fiona Scott Morton finds that surprise billing accounts for a large part of Emergency room costs, and that part falls on the patient, even when they are covered by insurance. The authors’ paper, ”Out-of-Network Emergency-Physician Bills — An Unwelcome Surprise” published in New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed 2.2 million emergency room visits and found that 22% of patients who went to ERs within their health-insurance networks were treated by an out-of-network doctor and were expected to pay the extra, much larger cost. 

Media coverage:
“Yale Study Sheds Light on Surprise ER Billing”  Yale News  
“Patients May Still Get a ‘Surprise’ Bill After an In-Network ER Visit, Study Finds” Wall Street Journal 
“The Surprisingly Common Reason Your Medical Bill Might Be Higher than You Expected” Washington Post
“First Comes the Emergency. Then Comes the Surprise Out-of-Network Bill” Upshot

Watch NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt: ”How to Protect Yourself: Surprise Medical Bills”