Medical bill Researchers from the Schaeffer Center looked at two possible ways that legislation might reform the surprise billing practices that are driving up costs. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Surprise medical bills, where patients are billed for necessary services at out-of-network costs, have been increasingly in the news in recent months. Studies have shown that a majority of Americans report receiving these bills, which can come from a range of providers but are most often associated with emergency care.

In the surprise billing scenario, services such as ER care, radiology, or ambulance services are considered out-of-network—a burden to consumers, who can’t shop for a better deal in cases where they have emergency medical situations. The consumers may not find out about the higher costs they are responsible for until they receive the bill, hence the “surprise” terminology.

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