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The ugly surprise of out-of-network doctors and 'balance billing'
The ugly surprise of out-of-network doctors and 'balance billing'

The New York Times' Elisabeth Rosenthal offered an important lesson in healthcare economics over the weekend that's a must-read for anyone about to undergo a major medical procedure. Rosenthal's piece explored how charges from out-of-network providers can magically show up on a hospital bill. She focused on one particularly nasty practice, called "drive-by doctoring," in which physicians call in colleagues not in a patient's network to consult or assist on a procedure. The out-of-network provider charges the retail rate -- in some cases, hundreds of times what the government would pay them for the same work, and invariably far more than what the patient's...

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