Research in the News: Out-of-network doctors: Worth the cost?

A Yale team of researchers has looked at the cost of seeking out-of-network medical care, and whether private insurance companies are transparent about the cost.

They sought to determine the proportion of privately insured adults using out-of-network physicians, the prevalance of involuntary out-of-network visits due to medical emergencies, and whether patients experienced problems with cost transparency. They found notable problems with cost transparency among insurance companies and regulatory agencies, and urged stronger measures to protect consumers from having to pay high, unanticipated charges.

The study was supported by a grant from the Women's Health Research at Yale Pilot Project Program and funding from the Yale Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars Program. The research team included Dr. Kelly Kyanko (now of NYU School of Medicine, and formerly a RWJF Clinical Scholar at Yale), and Leslie Curry and Susan Busch of Yale School of Public Health. The study appears online in the Health Services Research journal.