What's the most common service for which patients face out-of-network bills?

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Patients are more likely to receive out-of-network bills for lab services than they are for other out-of-network services, according to a study published April 26 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined 2018 insurance claims data from more than 12 million insured Americans, finding 30 percent of them had received at least one out-of-network medical bill.

Insured Americans were five times more likely to receive out-of-network bills for lab services than for emergency department visits. Out-of-network bills for lab services were also 34 times more common than out-of-network bills for anesthesiology services.

The study found that out-of-network lab services cost an average of $24.59 more than in-network lab services. It also found that patients who were billed for an out-of-network lab had about twice as many services as patients who were billed for an in-network lab.

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