Financially speaking, patients soon will find visits to North Carolina hospitals less painful and mystifying. Under laws passed by the General Assembly, they'll get more protection from aggressive bill-collection practices. Hospitals will be prohibited from putting liens on the houses of some patients, and will have to give written notice before sending accounts to a collection agency. Patients will also find it easier to comparison shop. Starting next June, hospitals must post prices for common procedures, as well as their charity care policies. And they'll have to put their bills in plain, easy-to-understand language without obscure codes and medical jargon.