BuyER Beware: Separate Billing, Surprise Costs

KUSA – A 9Wants to Know investigation has found doctors who work inside University of Colorado Hospital’s chain of freestanding emergency rooms remain “out of network” with most insurance companies more than a year after the state’s medical giant partnered with a Texas-based company to operate the ERs.

The problem, one which UCHealth is trying to remedy, continues to expose patients to high bills from the business that employs the doctors who work inside the ERs. In addition, 9Wants to Know has found evidence that UCHealth’s partner is on the verge of becoming even more aggressive in its bill collection.

It’s a move that could put more patients like George Brown of Aurora in tight spots, economically speaking.

Brown, a retiree, recently received a pair of bills for an hour-long visit to a UCHealth ER in Aurora for a bad cough. His insurance picked up the majority of the $2,000 bill from UCHealth. That wasn’t the problem, as far as Brown was concerned. The second bill, from National Medical Professionals, came to $1,626.

His insurance carrier, Cigna, refused to pay any of it. Brown said he was told by a representative of Cigna that National Medical Professionals was not in its network. Only later did he learn National Medical Professionals employs all of the doctors who work inside every UCHealth.

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