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After her pregnancy, Danielle Laskey discovered the hospital was out of network for her health plan, and her insurer said surprise-billing laws protecting patients from big out-of-network bills for emergency care did not apply Ryan Henriksen/KHN hide caption

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Ryan Henriksen/KHN

A surprise-billing law loophole? Her pregnancy led to a six-figure hospital bill

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A new law requires most mental health providers to give patients detailed upfront cost estimates, including a diagnosis. Therapist are concerned it could discourage patients from committing to a course of treatment. Alex Green/Pexels hide caption

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Alex Green/Pexels

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says doctors who are balking at the rules of the No Surprises Act aren't looking out for patients. "I don't think when someone is overcharging that it's going to hurt the overcharger to now have to [accept] a fair price," Becerra says. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Biden team's rules would push insurance premiums down by 0.5% to 1%. Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

A car accident in 2019 smashed six of Mark Gottlieb's teeth and severely damaged four vertebrae. The spinal surgery he needed as a result led to medical bills that exhausted the personal injury coverage in his auto insurance. Erica Seryhm Lee for KHN hide caption

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Erica Seryhm Lee for KHN

Hofstra University student Divya Singh found herself beset by a double whammy of bills from two of the costliest kinds of institutions in America — colleges and hospitals. After experiencing anxiety when her family had trouble coming up with the money for her tuition, she sought counseling and ended up with a weeklong stay in a psychiatric hospital — and a resulting $3,413 bill. Jackie Molloy for KHN hide caption

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Jackie Molloy for KHN

College Tuition Sparked A Mental Health Crisis. Then The Hefty Hospital Bill Arrived

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Hospitals must now post on their websites, in a consumer-friendly format, the specific costs for 300 common and "shoppable" services, such as having a baby, getting a joint replacement, having a hernia repaired or undergoing a diagnostic brain scan. FS Productions/Tetra images RF/Getty Images hide caption

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FS Productions/Tetra images RF/Getty Images

Emergency medical technicians wheel a patient into the ER of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Emergency hospitalizations related to COViD-19 can be costly. Fine print in the HHS rules regarding the CARES Act seem to spare patients at least some of the financial pain. Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Lobbying by physicians and physicians' professional associations has influenced proposed legislation to curtail surprise billing. Hannah Norman/Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Hannah Norman/Kaiser Health News

Doctors Push Back As Congress Takes Aim At Surprise Medical Bills

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In 2015, the New York legislature in Albany passed a law to end the practice of surprise medical billing. Research suggests overall health care costs have risen as a result. Walter Bibikow/Getty Images hide caption

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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate health committee, introduced legislation to address health care issues such as surprise medical bills and high drug costs. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., to curtail surprise medical bills. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Susan Walsh/AP