A New Jersey senator is looking to prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills, which can often be unnerving and financially debilitating.


As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Meredith Riberio had given birth to her son roughly one year ago but received a surprise bill in the mail recently.


She says she was especially confused because she had done extensive research while she was pregnant.


“My OB was in network, my doctor was in network. Every blood test I had during pregnancy was covered,” Riberio said.


The $1,200 bill came from the delivery room – from an out-of-network anesthesiologist.


“It was a little overwhelming because – well, $1,200 may not seem like a lot to a lot of people, it was like getting another month worth of daycare bills,” she told Haskell.


Sen. Bob Menendez says stories like Riberio’s situation are all too common and has proposed the “Stop Surprise Medical Bills Act.”


“Under our legislation, patients would only be charged their standard in network co-pays and fees when they unexpectedly receive care from an out of network doctor or hospital,” he explained.


Menendez has already gained 21 co-sponsors for the legislation.