Dive Brief:

  • The frequency and price tags on surprise medical bills for emergency and inpatient services at in-network hospitals is on the rise, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • The percentage of emergency department visits resulting in a surprise bill jumped from 32.3% in 2010 to 42.8% in 2016 while the increase for inpatient admissions went from 26.3% to 42%. The cost of the bill in both categories nearly doubled in that time period, with the top 10% of ED visits resulting in a bill of more than $1,000, and the top 10% of inpatient visits costing more than $3,000.
  • Patients at some hospitals were far more likely to receive a surprise bill. For inpatient, the chance was less than 10% at about half of the nearly 3,300 hospitals included, but the chance was more than 90% at about 15% of hospitals. For ED visits, it was a greater than a 90% chance at 23% of at the more than 4,000 hospitals studied.

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