Chris Vanderveen & Katie Wilcox, 9News

A “loophole” in a decade-old law has left Coloradans facing threats from collection agencies over medical bills they have zero obligation to pay. 


Surprises are great … but not so much when it comes to a bill for thousands of dollars from someone who you didn’t even know gave you medical care.    (Photo: KUSA)

The 2006 law was meant to protect patients who go to facilities that are covered by their insurance from getting high-priced, out of network bill. However, the law does nothing to prevent providers from skirting insurance providers and sending those bills directly to patients, according to an investigation by 9Wants to Know. 

Adding even more confusion to a naturally opaque billing process, oftentimes the surprise, out-of-network bills arrive many months – if not years – after the medical procedure. 

As one patient told 9Wants to Know, “Everybody is vulnerable.”

Kevin Fritz felt awful the afternoon of Sept. 21, 2016.  A coworker wondered if it was a heart attack. Another decided he needed to go to the hospital. 

“It looked like I took a shower with my clothes on. I was sweating that badly,” he said. 

They quickly decided Sky Ridge Medical Center was his best option.  Not only was it relatively close, but it was also in-network with his UnitedHealth insurance.

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