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N.C. Legislature Passes Bill To Make Health Care Costs More Transparent

North Carolinians should soon have an easier time understanding their medical bills and comparing the cost of common procedures at different hospitals. Those are among the goals of legislation the General Assembly passed Thursday.

Medical bills can seem like they're in a different language. State Attorney General Roy Cooper says he hears that all the time from North Carolinians, so he supports the legislation that passed. 

"Right now it's almost impossible for anybody to understand all of the medical codes and the medical jargon," Cooper said in a phone interview. "I think all consumers of health care will be helped by this legislation."

It directs hospitals and medical providers to write bills that are easy to understand. Attorney General Cooper says his office and the state Insurance Department will make sure that happens if Governor Pat McCrory signs the legislation into law. 

It also gets rid of some collection practices that can lead to patients losing their homes in order to pay medical bills. Plus it gives consumers more time to request an itemized bill and creates a website where hospitals have to post the cost of common procedures.