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Surprise Medical Bills

You do the right thing. So should doctors and insurers.

It’s sometimes not enough to have good health insurance, pay your monthly premiums, and understand your co-pays and deductibles. These days, even the savviest consumers are getting hit with surprise bills from out-of-network doctors and labs.

Why? In many cases, patients seek care at an in-network hospital, assuming it will be covered by their policy. Only later do they find out that some of the doctors they saw in that hospital, or some of the labs the hospital used for tests, were not in-network. The result can be huge, unexpected bills—even though the patient never chose to use those providers.

We’re talking directly to policymakers, pushing them to address this problem. But you can help fight surprise medical bills by adding your voice to the effort. Here’s how:

  1. If you’ve been hit with a surprise medical bill, you can find out where to complain in your state using our Insurance Complaint Tool.
  2. You can help us end surprise medical bills by sharing your story about getting a surprise medical bill. The CR members below did. You can share yours here.
  3. You can ask your Congressional delegation to ban surprise medical bills. Legislation currently in Congress would close health-industry loopholes and make sure every patient is protected from surprise medical bills. But Wall Street-backed companies that buy and invest in doctor practices are fighting this legislation. They want to keep sticking patients with thousands in surprise medical bills for ‘out-of-network’ medical care because it means higher profits. To send an email to your Senators and Representative saying that you expect them to do the right thing and ban surprise medical bills, click here.

Pam, Orangevale, CA

Pam’s cancer-related reconstructive surgery left her with a $10,000 bill. Her insurance directory showed the surgeon in-network, but didn’t mention that he wasn’t in-network where the procedure was performed.

“If insurance companies are going to provide these (network directories), they need to be valid. I’m in enough of a panic thinking about my health without having to go online and compare costs, and check if providers are in-network.”



Misty and Robert, Charleston, SC

The morning of Misty’s C-Section the couple was told the scheduled anesthesiologist was unavailable. The out-of-network doctor that replaced him charged $15,000.

“We had no option to reschedule. It would have been a risk to the baby’s life,” says Robert. “We had no control over this situation.”


Mike, Grapevine, TX

Mike needed emergency appendectomy surgery and got hit with a $950 bill from an out-of-network surgeon.

“When shopping, you understand the costs up front, and if you don’t like it you go somewhere else. But you can’t do that from the emergency room. Who goes and debates pricing in the emergency room?”


The more noise you make, the more pressure we can put on lawmakers to end these unfair bills once and for all.