Some hospital patients in Texas may find themselves unpleasantly surprised when they receive their medical bills. In some cases, certain treatments or services are not eligible for in-network insurance coverage. This can mean that some patients get hospital bills that they cannot afford to pay.
Health insurance plans in the United States typically provide a higher level of coverage for services provided by medical professionals, laboratories and hospitals that are "in-network," which means that they have entered into an agreement with the insurance company. Services provided by out-of-network hospitals, professionals and laboratories may still be covered by insurance, but the patient will be expected to pay a larger percentage of these costs out-of-pocket.
Patients who seek routine medical care simply work with insurers to determine whether a physician or other medical professional is in-network. Difficulty arises, however, when a patient is hospitalized. While a hospital may be a part of an insurer's network, not all of its professionals or contracted services, such as laboratories, are.
Because there are so many different providers within the hospital, it can be difficult to coordinate care that's only from in-network professionals. As a result, the final bill for a hospital stay can be very high even when the patient has medical insurance.
In some cases, a patient may have difficulty paying these bills while also meeting day-to-day living expenses. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals to pay their debts via a court-supervised payment plan. It also protects consumers from aggressive collection activity. Someone facing high medical bills may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney about this option.