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Surprise Bill? You probably used an out-of-network provider

Don’t be surprised if you choose an out-of-network medical provider to treat a health problem and get a huge bill as a result. Unfortunately, too many people do this and then blame everyone but themselves for the mistake.

This article is about a woman who took her problem all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, which will decide if the hospital deceived the patient when she was admitted.

I know it’s not easy to find out which medical providers have a contract with your insurance provider (the definition of in-network) and which do not. But it’s far from impossible. Most health insurance companies have a Find a Doctor tool on their website, and by entering the type of coverage you have, you’ll get a list of the in-network providers near you. If the one you want to see isn’t on the list, choose someone else. It really is that simple.

Providers don’t do nearly as good a job providing this information online, but some have excellent pages, such as the one posted by Stanford Health Care.

The bottom line: Please, please do your homework before you see a healthcare provider!