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Opinion: Surprise out-of-network bills are the fault of insurance regulators

A woman with cancer experiences complications related to her treatment and is hospitalized at a facility that accepts her insurance. During a four-day stay there, she is cared for by a team of physicians and nurses and undergoes a battery of tests and procedures. Once she is stable, she’s sent home. She continues seeing her oncologist for cancer treatments covered by her insurance, but a few weeks later, out-of-network bills from providers at the hospital begin to trickle in.

Those bills aren’t mistakes. They are actually an all-too-common occurrence, one that health plans often fail to mention — or do anything about. As a result, patients pay higher out-of-network costs that are partially covered, if at all, by their health insurance.

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