Am I responsible for paymentif the anesthesiologist at the hospital in whichI gave birth to my son was not in my health network??

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Am I responsible for paymentif the anesthesiologist at the hospital in whichI gave birth to my son was not in my health network??

My doctor, hospital, and all other care was in-network but they called an anesthesiologist who was not in-network to perform the epidural. I was never consulted about whether he would be and frankly, it’s expensive. Not to mention once the epidural was in place they checked my dilation and I was between 9 and 10 centimeters and more than likely could have delivered without it. The charges total around $6,000. Am I responsible?

Asked on March 16, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, you are responsible for all medical costs you incur. If you have insurance that covers it, the insurance will pay for you; but without insurance, you have to pay it.

That said, if the hospital was in some fashion negligent in contacting an out-of-network specialist in a non-emergency situation without contacting you, or worse, went against expressed wishes of yours to only use in-network personnel, you may have grounds to seek reimbursement of these expenses from the hospital.

For charges from the hospital itself, you may be able to work them out so that you do not have to pay in the first instance, but don't simply ignore them; put in writing to the hospital that you are contesting the charges because the hospital brought in an out-of-network specialist despite knowing your health insurance without consulting you. Always put protests against charges in writing and see if you can't work them out, rather than simply not paying.

For charges directly from the anesthesiologist, you probablly should pay, to avoid collections action against you (and damage to credit rating, etc.), then seek reimbursement from the hospital.

If the hospital won't pick up charges, you have the option of trying to sue them; though you should consult with an attorney (maybe a medical malpractice attorney) first, to see if it is worthwhile to do so, given the cost of lawsuit and likelihood of prevailing.


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