How you could get a big medical bill from someone you've never even met

What's known as a "balance bill" could leave you with a bill where you're on the hook for paying your surgical assistant more than your doctor.

A “loophole” in a decade-old law has left Coloradans facing threats from collection agencies over medical bills they have zero obligation to pay.

Surprises are great ... but not so much when it comes to a bill for thousands of dollars from someone who you didn't even know gave you medical care. 

The 2006 law was meant to protect patients who go to facilities that are covered by their insurance from getting high-priced, out of network bill. However, the law does nothing to prevent providers from skirting insurance providers and sending those bills directly to patients, according to an investigation by 9Wants to Know.

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Adding even more confusion to a naturally opaque billing process, oftentimes the surprise, out-of-network bills arrive many months - if not years - after the medical procedure.

As one patient told 9Wants to Know, “Everybody is vulnerable.”