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People don’t receive bills after going to a grocery store or a mechanic’s shop. They know what things will cost them well before they leave.

But in health care, patients get bills and “explanations of benefits” after the fact — usually creating confusion or shock as to how much they owe.


Given all the new billing technology in health care, consumer groups are demanding the federal government start enforcing some of the less well-known provisions of the surprise billing law, ones that require providers and insurers to give patients price and cost estimates before they get care when possible. Even employer lobbyists like the American Benefits Council are asking officials to finish rules around these price estimates “as quickly as possible.”

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