Hawaii residents receive high ER bills amid hospital-contractor negotiations

Some Hawaii residents received high out-of-pocket emergency room charges amid negotiations between a new contractor and insurers, The Maui News reported.

One resident who visited the Maui Memorial Medical Center emergency room in Wailuku, Hawaii, received charges totaling more than $5,000.

At the root of the issue is a new ER contractor for Maui Memorial Medical Center and its negotiating of agreements with insurers, including the Hawaii Medical Assurance Association and University Health Alliance, according to representatives of Maui Health System, which runs Maui Memorial and Maui Memorial Emergency Medical Associates, which received the contract.

Negotiations between Maui Memorial Emergency Medical Associates, whose parent company is Emergent Medical Associates, and insurers reportedly began in July.

Yvonne Biegel, director of strategic communications for Maui Health System, told The Maui News that the emergency physician group indicated a few patients received incorrectly high bills amid contract negotiations. 

In a statement obtained by the publication, HMAA said it will retroactively reimburse the emergency physicians group for unpaid amounts and work with the group to address and reimburse money paid by members that exceeds the plan's copayments or deductibles.

UHA members who received bills for out-of-network ER physician services were informed that the bills were sent in error and to wait until they received an updated invoice, Howard Lee, president and CEO of UHA, told The Maui News.


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