Ask Amy: Surprise medical bill complaints, protesting your property taxes

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

It happens to all of us. You get a medical bill in the mail and cringe while you open it because you are worried about how much it might cost. You could still be getting surprise charges on medical bills even though there’s a new law that is supposed to stop this. There are steps you can take if you think you are being overcharged.

What you can do about surprise medical bill charges

The No Surprises Act (NSA) is in effect. You may remember, starting in 2022 federal law protects people from some unexpected medical bills.

Question: “What if I think charges to my medical bill are wrong? How do I dispute the bill?”

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

The new law includes surprise bills you may receive for emergency services even if the services were out-of-network and without prior authorization.

For example, if you go to an in-network hospital and the anesthesiologist is not in-network the hospital can’t charge you out-of-network rates if they didn’t tell you about it before your visit.

The Consumer Finance website explains more if you have a group health plan or individual health insurance coverage, it bans:

  • Surprise bills for emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility and without prior authorization
  • Out-of-network cost-sharing, like out-of-network coinsurance or copayments, for all emergency and some non-emergency services

The No Surprises Act also requires some health care facilities and providers to disclose Federal and State patient protections against balance billing and sets forth complaint processes with respect to violations of the protections against balance billing and out-of-network cost-sharing.

The No Surprises Act also protects people who don’t have insurance

Also under the law - if you don’t have insurance or self-pay, you should be given a fee estimate and if your bill is higher you can dispute those charges. If you’ve had your care and find that the billed amount is at least $400 above the good faith estimate, you may be able to dispute the charges through the patient-provider dispute resolution process.

Filing a complaint about surprise medical billing

If a client has a question about the No Surprises Act or believes the law isn’t being followed, they can contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “No Surprises” help desk at (800) 985-3059 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, seven days a week, to submit a question or a complaint.

Property tax protest deadline just weeks away

It’s that time of year when we get questions about protesting your property tax bill. The deadline to file a protest is May 15th. Some people mistakenly believe claiming their home is worth less will hurt them later when they want to sell. This is not true.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

You can protest your home’s market value with your County Appraisal District. In Harris County, there are three ways to protest. You can mail in the protest form that came with your tax appraisal notice, file online or try and settle on a lower amount with an offer. If you don’t like the county’s offer, you can fight it at HCAD’s office.

No matter which method you choose to protest, you need to present evidence that proves your home’s market value is less than the appraisal district says it is. There are several ways you can go about gathering evidence and we’ve done a few stories on this.

Quick links to area appraisal districts:

We are getting more questions from you and we love it! If you have a question for Amy and the team, email us at and we will work to find you an answer.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.