Envision launches campaign to end 'surprise' bills amid UnitedHealthcare fight

Nashville, Tenn.-based Envision Healthcare rolled out a digital video campaign targeting "surprise" or out-of-network medical bills Oct. 3 as one of the largest providers of emergency room services feuds with UnitedHealthcare over ER billing.

Here are four things to know:

1. The video campaign centers around surprise billing. Envision describes surprise billing as a "catch phrase the media uses to describe bills patients receive from out-of-network hospitals or physicians."

2. However, Envision said "that label doesn't capture the larger issue of 'surprise coverage' that has been created by the steady fraying of the insurance safety net." The video explains how the growth of cost-cutting measures like high-deductible health plans, narrow networks and care denials have led to unexpected expenses for patients.

3. The video campaign comes after UnitedHealthcare sent letters to more than 250 hospitals Sept. 21 warning them it may drop Envision from its network starting next year. The firms have been feuding over out-of-network and ER billing policies for months.

4. Envision is also requesting federal officials consider a minimum benefit standard for surprise out-of-network ER charges. A minimum benefit standard would require health insurers to reimburse out-of-network providers at a minimum standard. They also asked Congress to establish a uniform method to calculate charges.

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