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Survey Finds 1 in 5 Adults Received Unexpected Medical Bills

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One in 5 U.S. adults say they have received an unexpected medical bill this year, according to a new Morning Consult survey.

The federal ban on surprise medical billing, which went into effect Jan. 1, bars payers from charging privately insured patients the balance when they seek emergency services or receive care that isn’t covered at an in-network facility without realizing it. Health insurers say the bipartisan No Surprises Act prevented more than 2 million potential surprise bills from reaching commercially insured patients in the first two months of the year.

Meanwhile, hospitals and health insurers are now required to publicly post their rates, in an effort to make patients’ medical costs more clear up front.

Yet the new survey shows many Americans are still in the dark. Adults who received unexpected bills this year were most likely to get them for in-network lab work that was sent to an out-of-network lab for assessment, which is covered under the law, or for testing or procedures not covered by insurance, which isn’t. Another 1 in 5 were billed after being treated by an out-of-network doctor at an in-network hospital.

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