Legislators in New York and Florida have adopted measures designed to protect consumers from "surprise" medical bills — substantial and unanticipated invoices for medical services that the consumer either thought was covered, or didn't know would be part of the services rendered.

These "surprise" bills may have the legs to become the next opioid crisis or brouhaha over specialty drugs. A recent report on "surprise" bills by NBC News pointed to a Consumer Reports study that estimated that a third of Americans got "surprise" bills following a hospital visit.

The news report cited several representatives of consumer advocacy groups and state agencies who said "surprise" bills are almost expected these days.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.