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A new Texas law aims to protect patients like Drew Calver, pictured here with his wife, Erin, and daughters, Eleanor (left) and Emory, in their Austin, Texas, home. After being treated for a heart attack in April 2017, Calver, a high school history teacher, got a surprise medical bill for $108,951. Callie Richmond for KHN hide caption

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Callie Richmond for KHN

Texas Is Latest State To Attack Surprise Medical Bills

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Liv Cannon and her fiancé, Cole Chiumento, considered calling off their wedding because of uncertainty over medical debt from her surgery. "I think about it every time I go to the mailbox," Cannon says. Julia Robinson for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Julia Robinson for Kaiser Health News

A Year After Spinal Surgery, A $94,031 Bill Feels Like A Backbreaker

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Charges for nitrous oxide during labor and delivery haven't been standardized. Courtesy of Kara Jo Prestrud, Birth Made Beautiful hide caption

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Courtesy of Kara Jo Prestrud, Birth Made Beautiful

Bill Of The Month: $4,836 Charge For Laughing Gas During Childbirth Is No Joke

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Oakley Yoder walks with her parents, Josh Perry and Shelli Yoder, outside their home in Bloomington, Ind. Chris Bergin for KHN hide caption

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Chris Bergin for KHN

Summer Bummer: A Young Camper's $142,938 Snakebite

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Surprise bills happen when patients go to a hospital they think is in their insurance network but are seen by doctors or specialists who aren't. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption

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PeopleImages/Getty Images

After a sports injury, Esteban Serrano owed $829.41 for a knee brace purchased with insurance through his doctor's office. He says he found the same kind of brace selling for less than $250 online. Paula Andalo/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Paula Andalo/Kaiser Health News

Soccer-Playing Engineer Calls Foul On Pricey Knee Brace

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The proposed legislation aims to reduce patients' costs by beefing up a Texas Department of Insurance program that scrutinizes surprise balance bills greater than $500 from any emergency health care provider. Kameleon007/Getty Images hide caption

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Kameleon007/Getty Images

Jeannette Parker, an animal-loving biologist, stopped to feed a stray cat in a rural area outside Florida's Everglades National Park. Instead of showing appreciation, the cat bit her. Angel Valentín for KHN hide caption

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Angel Valentín for KHN

Cat Bites The Hand That Feeds; Hospital Bills $48,512

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First lady Melania Trump with 10-year-old Grace Eline, a guest of President Trump at the State of the Union address Tuesday. Grace was diagnosed with brain cancer last year. Trump cited her experience in calling for more research into childhood cancer treatments. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

"There does seem to be across-the-board understanding that what's happening to patients right now isn't right or fair," Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said about surprise medical bills. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images hide caption

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Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Matt Gleason fainted at work after getting a flu shot, so colleagues called 911 and an ambulance took him to the ER. Eight hours later, Gleason went home with a clean bill of health. Later still he got a hefty bill that wiped out his deductible. Logan Cyrus for KHN hide caption

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Logan Cyrus for KHN

A Fainting Spell After A Flu Shot Leads To $4,692 ER Visit

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Dr. Paul Davis, whose daughter, Elizabeth Moreno, was billed $17,850 for a urine test and featured in KHN-NPR's Bill of the Month series, was among the guests invited to the White House on Wednesday to discuss surprise medical bills with President Trump. Julia Robinson for KHN hide caption

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Julia Robinson for KHN

Sarah Witter had two operations to repair bones in her lower left leg after a skiing accident last February. The second surgery was needed to replace a stabilizing plate that broke. Matt Baldelli for KHN hide caption

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Matt Baldelli for KHN

Sarah Witter fractured two bones in her lower left leg while skiing in Vermont last February. She had two operations to repair the damage. The second surgery was needed to replace a metal plate that broke after it was implanted. Matt Baldelli for KHN hide caption

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Matt Baldelli for KHN

Bill Of The Month: $43,208 For Repeat Surgery To Replace Broken Medical Device

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Shereese Hickson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012 and is unable to work. She supports herself and her son, Isaiah, on $770 a month. Shane Wynn for KHN hide caption

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Shane Wynn for KHN

Chronically Ill, Traumatically Billed: $123,019 For 2 Multiple Sclerosis Treatments

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Janet Winston stands in her rose garden in Eureka, Calif. Testing revealed she is allergic to numerous substances, including linalool. Winston still can handle roses, which contain linalool, but she can't wear perfumes and cosmetic products that contain the compound. Alexandra Hootnick hide caption

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Alexandra Hootnick

Bill Of The Month: A $48,329 Allergy Test Is A Lot Of Scratch

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"The biggest challenge for me was to see how I would be a father again," says Dr. Naveed Khan, who was injured while driving an all-terrain vehicle. "With two able-bodied parents at home, it was easier." Shelby Knowles for NPR hide caption

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Shelby Knowles for NPR

Taken For A Ride: M.D. Injured In ATV Crash Gets $56,603 Bill For Air Ambulance Trip

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The total bill for Drew Calver's four-day hospital stay at St. David's Medical Center in April 2017 was $164,941. His insurer paid $55,840, leaving Calver responsible for the unpaid balance of $108,951.31. Callie Richmond/KHN hide caption

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Callie Richmond/KHN

A survey finds many Americans get unexpected medical bills and the majority come because patients expect their insurance to cover more than it actually does. Jamie Grill/Getty Images hide caption

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Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Drew Calver, a high school history teacher and swim coach in Austin, Texas, had a heart attack at his home on April 2, 2017. A neighbor rushed him to the nearby emergency room at St. David's Medical Center, which wasn't in the school district's health plan. Callie Richmond/KHN hide caption

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Callie Richmond/KHN

His $109K Heart Attack Bill Is Now Down To $332 After NPR Told His Story

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Wren Vetens fought to get her gender confirmation surgery covered after the Group Insurance Board's initial decision left her without insurance coverage. Lauren Justice for KHN hide caption

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Lauren Justice for KHN