A Massachusetts couple was shocked to receive a nearly $4,000 medical bill after their son was born.
Laura and Adam Parkinson welcomed their healthy happy son, Nathan, last year.
They had carefully chosen a hospital and obstetrician that were covered by their insurance ahead of Laura's due date.
So they were confused when the eye-watering bill arrived in the mail, CBS reported.
Like many patients across the US, Laura had unwittingly been treated by an anesthesiologist who was out of her and Adam's insurance network - and were expected to pay a high price for the short time they spent with the doctor.
Adam (left) and Laura (right) Parkinson got a $3,700 bill after the birth of their son, Nathan (bottom right) because the anesthesiologist who gave Laura an epidural was out-of-network
The average American spends almost $5,000 a year on health care, and emergency procedures cost an average of $12,000 before insurance.
One Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that about 70 percent of Americans that get a surprise bill had no idea they were attended to by a doctor outside of their network.
And the most common provider that ends up being out of network is the anesthesiologist.
It's an all-too-common phenomenon, and it costs countless people their savings and forces some into second (or third) jobs or mortgages.
Even the most informed families, like the Parkinsons, can fall into the trap.
'You go to a hospital, expecting it to be in-network. You don't have to ask a question of every single person who walks in the door, "hold on, are you in network?,"' Adam said to CBS News.