Surprise Medical Billing
Black communities already disproportionately suffer from a severe lack of access to healthcare because of our country’s challenges with racism. When we do receive healthcare, we are more likely to be slammed with outrageous surprise medical bills that are often near impossible to afford.
So, what is surprise billing and how does it affect minority communities?
Surprise medical billing occurs when insurance companies refuse to cover essential costs for patients, leaving patients to pick up the difference between the out-of-network provider’s fee and the amount covered by their health insurance, after co-pays and deductible.
Residential segregation and hospital closures put Black and Hispanic communities further from hospitals and healthcare providers. So, in the face of medical emergencies, these communities often rely on emergency transportation to access care which is rarely covered by insurers. This injustice brings annual out-of-network ambulance costs in the United States to $91 million for air transport and $129 million for ground transport.
Though President Joe Biden – along with the Congressional Black Caucus – has committed his agenda to abolishing surprise medical billing and providing more access to healthcare in urban and rural areas, our communities cannot wait on these promises and must take action now.
The average surprise medical bill is $600 and can total to as much as $25,000
67% of Americans have reported worrying they will not be able to afford these bills
81% of Americans believe that insurance companies are the largest contributors to surprise medical bills