Giving Compass' Take:

• Doug Badger at The Heritage Foundation gives 3 steps on how he believes Congress can solve the balance-billing problem and give patients more control over their medical care and bills. 

• How can policymakers address this problem? What are doctors and healthcare workers doing? 

• What issue areas are health funders supporting and what’s next? Click here to find out. 

Surprise medical bills are a source of frustration for many Americans. Patients who schedule medical care from network physicians or at network hospitals sometimes receive bills from doctors outside the network such as anesthesiologists, radiologists, or pathologists.

Or a patient may be transported to a nearby emergency department, only to learn that the hospital was not in her insurance company’s network.

In cases like these, patients are saddled with bills that can be very high, potentially running into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a new paper, coauthor Brian Blase and I propose a market-based solution to such surprise medical bills. This proposal, if implemented, will equip consumers with the information they need to so they can make more informed health care decisions.

Our proposal requires insurers and providers to supply accurate and timely information about networks and prices. It segments the surprise billing problem into four distinct categories, depending on the network status of the facility and whether the medical services are emergency or nonemergency.

Read the full article about surprise medical bills by Doug Badger at The Heritage Foundation.