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Insurance companies negotiate with hospitals and doctors the price of every treatment, procedure and medical service. That price differs from hospital to hospital — even health plan to health plan. Vincent Wartner/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Wartner/Science Source

Ouch! Jeffrey Craig Hopper got good emergency treatment after being hit in the eye with a baseball in June. But months later he was slapped with an extra medical bill he never expected. Jennifer Hopper hide caption

itoggle caption Jennifer Hopper

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In 49 U.S. states, spotting the squished disc in this spinal MRI is still much easier than learning the price of the MRI in advance. AWelshLad/iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption AWelshLad/iStockphoto

Home health care workers Jasmine Almodovar (far right) and Artheta Peters (center) take part in a Cleveland rally for higher pay on Sept. 4. Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN, Ideastream hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Jane Tribble/WCPN, Ideastream

Members of the California Nurses Association rallied in Sacramento, Calif., in May, in anticipation of contract negotiations with Kaiser Permanente that began this fall. April Dembosky / KQED hide caption

itoggle caption April Dembosky / KQED

Construction is continuing at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center in downtown Baltimore. It's one of three such centers under development in the Washington, D.C., region. Jenny Gold/KHN hide caption

itoggle caption Jenny Gold/KHN

Kevin Wierhs and Susan Johnson confer about what works and what doesn't in managing diabetes. Sarah McCammon/Georgia Public Broadcasting hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah McCammon/Georgia Public Broadcasting

David Combs, an insurance broker in Kentucky, wound up benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, even though early on he had figured the law would put brokers out of business. Jenny Gold/Kaiser Health News hide caption

itoggle caption Jenny Gold/Kaiser Health News

Michael Granillo and his wife Sonia await treatment at an emergency room in Northridge, Calif. Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News hide caption

itoggle caption Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News

Victoria Ruiz (left), a postdoctoral fellow in immunology, works with Brianna Delgado, a high school student that she mentors, at the Blaser Lab, inside NYU's Langone Medical Center in New York, NY. Ramsay de Give for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ramsay de Give for NPR

Randen Patterson left a research career in physiology at U.C. Davis when funding got too tight. He now owns a grocery store in Guinda, Calif. Max Whittaker/Prime for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Max Whittaker/Prime for NPR