Intermountain, Regence BCBS partner to end surprise ER bills

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare and Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield are collaborating to address high, unexpected emergency room patient medical bills, according to a KUTV report.

Surprise bills can occur when patients are transported to an emergency room and later learn the provider is charging them the remaining balance after the insurance company pays its part of the bill.

But the issue could improve for Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield members taken to an Intermountain Healthcare facility, according to the report. That's because the 23-hospital, nonprofit health system and the health insurer have reached an agreement on ER balance billing.

"Intermountain has worked diligently to reach agreements with payers — and has now reached a formal agreement with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield — to help ensure that patients have an optimal experience, beginning with the care they receive and all through the billing process," system officials told Becker's.

Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield confirmed to the TV station an agreement "that takes members out of the middle" of payer-provider reimbursement disputes.

It is unclear whether the agreement is retroactive.

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