What is a "surprise bill"?

Balance billing – or a surprise medical bill – happens when you get a bill from a doctor, laboratory, durable medical equipment provider, or other health care provider who isn’t part of your health plan’s network. Often, consumers didn’t know they were getting care from out-of-network providers.  For example, a patient goes to an in-network hospital for emergency care and is treated by an out-of-network doctor. The doctor and the hospital each bill $1,000 for their services, and the health plan pays them each $400. The in-network hospital can only bill the patient for copays, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts. The doctor, however, may bill for the copays, deductibles, and coinsurance as well as any other amounts that the health plan did not pay.