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Virginia hospitals oppose plan to stop some surprise medical bills

State Corporation Commission Judge Mark Christie.
State Corporation Commission Judge Mark Christie.(Photo by Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Published: Sep. 14, 2019 at 2:24 PM EDT
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At this point, most people have either gotten stuck with a surprise medical bill they thought would be covered by their health insurance or know someone who has.

And during a two-and-a-half-hour hearing on the issue before the State Corporation Commission on Thursday, Judge Mark Christie made clear he falls firmly within the latter category.

Christie — one of three commissioners who will decide whether the state will adopt new regulations requiring hospitals to notify patients in advance if they’re likely to be treated by an out-of-network provider — repeatedly returned to the experience of a man he knows whose wife needed surgery.

As Christie tells it, the man, aware of the growing problem of surprise bills, called the hospital in advance to make sure the surgeon and anesthesiologist would be covered by his wife’s insurance.

The hospital responded that both were in network. But what the couple wasn’t told, Christie said, was that the surgery would include a visit from a hospitalist, who wasn’t in network and who later billed them for thousands of dollars.

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