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Consumer Relief: COVID Bill To End ‘surprise’ Medical Bills

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FILE - In this late Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center's patient drop-off/pick-up area is seen in Los Angeles. People with private health insurance will finally see the nasty shock of “surprise” medical bills virtually gone, thanks to the coronavirus compromise reached in Congress. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(AP) — People with private health insurance will see the nasty shock of “surprise” medical bills virtually gone, thanks to the coronavirus compromise passed by Congress.

The charges that can run from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars come from doctors and hospitals that are outside the network of a patient’s health insurance plan. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 emergency visits and 1 in 6 inpatient admissions will trigger a surprise bill. Although lawmakers of both parties long agreed that the practice was abusive billing, a lobbying war between doctors and insurers thwarted compromise.

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