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Patients Want Insurance Companies to Take More Responsibility for Surprise Bills, Poll Finds

WASHINGTON, D.C.— As Congress debates how to best protect patients from surprise medical bills, a poll released today by Morning Consult finds more than eight in 10 Americans (81 percent) believe the responsibility for the costs associated with surprise billing lies with health insurance companies rather than hospitals and doctors.

Voters, especially those in smaller communities, are concerned about the effect of rate setting. Sixty-three percent of Americans are worried about the impact rate setting could have on small communities that already face hospital and doctor shortages, and an even higher percentage (67 percent) believe Congress must protect access to health care for the millions of Americans living in rural communities. When it comes to resolving payment disputes between insurers and providers, 69 percent prefer independent third-party resolution over allowing the government to set rates.

“The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) stands with the majority of Americans in favor of independent dispute resolution, which takes patients out of the middle and establishes a fair, efficient process to resolve differences between insurers and providers,” said Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Independent dispute resolution is a proven and market-based process that ensures that all stakeholders come to the table to negotiate in good faith.”

Other findings from the poll include:

  • Fifty-four percent of Americans with health insurance who experienced a surprise medical bill says it’s because their insurance company did not cover the medical treatment they received.
  • Eighty-one percent of Americans say that, given that in most emergency situations patients are not able to choose their provider, insurance companies should pay for emergency services.
  • Sixty-three percent of Americans support Congress stepping in to establish insurance network standards.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult between May 31-June 1, 2019. 

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit and

Contact: Steve Arnoff | | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

Access to Care Advocacy Coverage News Polls Research Surprise Billing