Insurance ad parody highlights ER billing debate


When the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) saw health insurer Cigna’s $9 million ad campaign using famous TV doctors from Grey’s Anatomy and other shows, a light bulb went off.

The Cigna campaign was urging people to get regular checkups. But ACEP knew it had the perfect opportunity to shoot a parody video (see below) bringing awareness to dwindling insurance coverage for emergency room visits.

Not that you have to convince the American public about the costs of going to the ER!

The Wall Street Journal reports Yale researchers analyzed 2.2 million ER visits and found that about a quarter of the time, you’ll get hit with a huge bill because you’re being seen by an out-of-network physician—even if you’re at an ER that’s in your insurer’s network.

So what’s the solution to this problem? A couple things, actually.

First, if your issue is urgent and not a true emergency, consider going to a nurse-in-the-box retail clinic. Their prices are posted clearly at the front desk and you’ll know exactly what you’re going to pay before you’re seen.

Second, if you are stuck with a big bill from the ER, think about hiring a medical billing specialist. According to some estimates, roughly eight in 10 hospital bills have multiple errors. Hiring a medical billing specialist can save you the money and headache of fighting with the health care provider and the insurer over something that’s been incorrectly billed.

Read more: 10 tips for Medicare prescription drug coverage open enrollment

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