A significant number of Americans in Tennessee may face a growing debt burden as a result of medical bills. Even though people often prepare extensively for the medical costs they will have to bear, almost one out of every seven patients received an unexpected bill despite receiving treatment at hospitals considered in-network for their insurance providers. In many cases, even in-network hospitals resulted in at least one out-of-network claim. People who needed anesthesia under surgery often faced these claims; 16.5 percent of all such claims were associated with anesthesiology.

In addition, hospitals who sent blood work to independent labs often led to unexpected bills. Over 20 percent of all of these out-of-network medical bills were associated with lab testing. The number of claims varied from state to state; in Minnesota, only 1.7 percent of in-network hospital admissions were associated with unexpected bills, but 26.3 percent of admissions in Florida were associated with these costly claims. Patients themselves have no control over these outcomes; they do not select independent labs or medical professionals.

Indeed, highly specialized professions like anesthesiology were not the only types of in-network hospital treatments that could lead to costly bills. Even primary care was the cause of 12.6 percent of unexpected medical bills. Emergency medicine, radiology and non-physician professional care also were frequently linked to these billing practices. In 10 separate states, at least 15 percent of in-network hospital admissions resulted in treatment that was not covered by a patient’s health insurance.

Patients who receive these bills may find themselves unable to pay, especially as highly specialized hospital treatments can be very expensive. Medical bills may also come in addition to credit card bills and other personal debts. People who are facing unrepayable debt burdens might benefit from consulting a bankruptcy lawyer about options to pursue debt relief and a new financial future.