Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: Health Care Cost Institute; Table: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Emergency rooms' prices are skyrocketing, and experts say that may be a side effect of the same factors that leave patients on the hook for unexpected bills.

Why it matters: Emergency rooms are collecting more money from private insurance plans, and at the same time they're also surprising patients with the news that their care wasn't covered. So whether you're covered or not, you're paying more.

The big picture: Hospitals get paid more for complex treatments than simple ones. Over the past decade, they've been categorizing more and more visits as complex, while also raising their prices for complex care.

  • Since 2008, the prices hospitals negotiate with insurers have gone up, as have patients' out-of-pocket costs, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.

Between the lines: HCCI's analysis doesn't include ER care that isn't covered by insurance — and that's the source of many of the surprise bills that have sparked so much political controversy.

  • But experts say the two issues are connected.
  • Patients get surprise bills when a specific ER doctor doesn't accept their insurance. The threat of those bills also gives doctors more leverage to demand higher rates from the insurance plans they do accept.

"A lot of the increase in code-specific rates likely stems from emergency physician groups more fully utilizing the leverage from the threat to surprise bill patients," Brookings' Loren Adler said.

What's next: Policymakers — in Congress and in the states — are eyeing a variety of ways to rein in surprise billing.

  • The most aggressive approach would likely be to simply mandate the rate doctors can charge for out-of-network care.
  • An arbitration process would likely be "the least aggressive option," Yale's Zack Cooper said.

Go deeper: We all pay for surprise emergency room bills

Go deeper

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege

Photo: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The state of play: Gionet was arrested in Houston on charges related to disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session, per AP.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!