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As health-care costs continue to soar, millions of confused consumers are paying medical bills they don’t actually owe. Typically this occurs when an insurance plan covers less than what a doctor, hospital, or lab service wants to be paid. The health-care provider demands the balance from the patient.

1. Explain why balance billing is usually illegal.
2. According to the article, what percentage of consumers fall victim to this scheme and pay the balance bill?
3. When are balance billings allowed?
4. Is balance billing allowed under Medicare?
5. What recourse does a person have over a medical provider that demands balance billing?


Terhune, C. (2008). Medical Bills You Shouldn’t Pay. BusinessWeek, August 27 (Retrievable online at