Giving Compass' Take:

• Americans pay more for health care than their counterparts in the developed world and The Conversation reports on why there is an increase in unexpected medical bills. 

• How can philanthropy work to change policies that overburden the poor with paperwork, requirements and surprise medical bills?

• Even the insured often can't afford their medical bills. Click here to read more. 

Hardly a week goes by without another story in the media covering a family somewhere in America dealing with an outrageous medical bill. Yet, in more and more cases, these families don’t have junk insurance, or lack coverage altogether. Indeed, they have what Americans would consider decent coverage, either through their employer or an Affordable Care Act marketplace. They also followed, or so they thought, the rules of their insurance policy requiring them to seek care inside their provider network. Yet, they are slapped with surprise bills, and often threatened by bankruptcy.

What gives?

In my view as a health care policy researcher, the increasing occurrence of surprise medical bills is not an accident. Rather, it is a reflection of a larger trend in the American health care system. There’s been a massive wave of consolidation in the health care business to gain greater bargaining clout. These surprise bills are a byproduct of the wrangling between two sets of players – insurers and care providers – a battle of giants that often leaves patients holding the bill.

Read the full article about medical bills by Simon F. Haeder at The Conversation.