Policy & Research


ICYMI: Virtual Event and Issue Brief — Surprise Medical Bills (October 29, 2020)

Policymakers Seek Solutions to Protect Consumers

By Kansas Health Institute | October 29, 2020

ICYMI: Virtual Event and Issue Brief — Surprise Medical Bills (October 29, 2020)


If you live in Kansas, there is a good chance you have had to pay a medical bill that you thought would be covered by insurance. What causes these “surprise” medical bills and why are consumers in Kansas more likely to receive them than consumers in most other states? What are policymakers around the country doing to protect consumers?

Key Points from the brief include:

  • Surprise medical bills are charges that arise when an individual with private health insurance unknowingly receives care from a provider not covered by that insurance, resulting in higher than expected out-of-pocket costs for the patient.
  • In 2016, the share of in-network hospital admissions in Kansas with at least one associated out-of-network claim was 24 percent.
  • Nearly one out of every four (24 percent) emergency department visits by Kansans with insurance through a job with a large employer (generally more than 50 employees) had at least one out-of-network charge, higher than all but four other states.
  • As of Sept. 16, 2020, 31 states — not including Kansas — have enacted laws to protect consumers from surprise medical bills.

Virtual Event — Surprise Medical Bills (October 29, 2020)

Keynote speaker Colleen Becker, M.P.P., Senior Policy Specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, led the discussion about what can be done to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. Participants heard discussion from a panel of experts, including: Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, 52nd District, Georgia General Assembly; Laura Colbert, M.P.H., Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future; and Jack Hoadley, Ph.D, Research Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

A recording of the convening, as well as documents from the virtual event, are below.

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.