This Visualizing Health Policy infographic looks at the experience of unexpected or “surprise” medical bills in the United States. Out-of-network charges typically expose individuals to higher cost-sharing when they use services, and may lead to balance billing – in which providers bill patients directly, and often unexpectedly, at a higher rate. In the past two years, one in five insured adults had an unexpected medical bill from an out-of-network provider. Overall, two-thirds of adults are worried about affording these bills for themselves and their family. In emergency rooms across the country, 18 percent of visits result in at least one surprise bill, but rates vary by state. Politically, majorities of Democrats and Republicans support government action to protect patients against these unexpected bills. This infographic sources analysis and polling from KFF as well as the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker.
Visualizing Health Policy is an infographic series produced in partnership with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The full-size infographic is freely available on JAMA’s website and is published in the print edition of the journal.