When Lauren Waisanen and her husband took their three-year-old son to the emergency room with a fever, elevated heart rate and pale face, they received news no parent wants to hear: their son had acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
After three grueling weeks of chemotherapy, Lauren was overjoyed to finally bring her son home. But her world was once again turned upside down when the family received more than $100,000 in medical bills. Their insurance was refusing to pay because while the hospital was in-network, certain services like anesthesia and lab tests were considered out-of-network.
So, at a time when Lauren’s son needed her most, she instead spent eight to ten hours a day pleading with billing departments, social workers and their insurance company to protect the family’s financial security.
The patient impact
Lauren is not alone. Many patients receive surprise medical bills through no fault of their own, and in many cases, they can be impossible to avoid. The average surprise medical bill for an emergency room visit is $600—and some can be tens of thousands of dollars—or more..
No patient or parent should have to worry that getting medical treatment could be financially devastating. That’s why we’ve work closely with advocates like Lauren to ensure that patients can focus on what matters most: getting healthy.
After years of work, patients can finally breathe a sigh of relief: surprise billing is now banned thanks to the No Surprises Act. Instead of billing patients for outstanding costs, the provider and the insurer must negotiate payment. If they can’t reach an agreement, they’ll go to arbitration. Patients are not involved in the process.
LLS is committed to ensuring that reforms from the No Surprises Act continue to put patients first.