New protections against surprise medical bills are on the way — but in the meantime, here’s what you can do if you receive one

Health care

For those who receive medical treatment at a hospital or emergency room within their insurance network, surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers are costly, unfair and surprisingly common — so we’re making sure Oregonians know what to do if they receive one.

On Feb. 10, OSPIRG launched a consumer education campaign on how to fight these surprise bills. The campaign kicked off with the release of an OSPIRG Foundation tip sheet by Maribeth Guarino, OSPIRG’s High Value Health Care advocate, on what on what surprise medical bills are, what rights and protections Oregonians currently have, and what you can do to challenge or reduce the extra charge.

“Oregon consumers often struggle to understand the pile of medical bills they receive after a health crisis,” said Maribeth. “In particular, the out-of-network bills will often come as a surprise, and sometimes the consumers aren’t even legally obligated to pay them. It’s important that consumers have the right information to identify and fight these unfair bills.”

Read the full tip sheet.

Learn more about our health care campaigns.


Photo: Studies have shown that nearly 1 in 5 emergency room visits and hospital stays results in a surprise out-of-network bill for the patient. Credit: torange biz free photobank, CC BY 4.0 via


Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.

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