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Health insurance: In or out of network?

A point missing from Chris Hamby’s article this week [“Insurers reap hidden fees by slashing payments. You may get the bill,” Business, April 7] is that emergency situations can leave you with no idea who is in or out of network. When my husband needed to visit an emergency room while out of state several years ago, I first called my insurance company to see if the facility was in network. I was assured that it was, and we went. Imagine my surprise months later when I got an $8,000 bill because the facility was in network, but the doctors who saw my husband were not. Are we supposed to ask every person who walks in the room if they accept our insurance carrier? Would they even know, or is some third party handling their billing?

When no one is accountable because the entire system is built on someone else handling the specifics, the consumer is the big loser.

Lauren Buys, Seattle

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