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Bill to address medical bill 'surprise' charges clears House

State House Bureau
March 07. 2018 8:17PM




CONCORD — A proposal to protect consumers from surprise charges on medical bills due to unexpected "out of network" charges cleared the House with overwhelming support on Tuesday and now heads for the Senate.

Gov. Chris Sununu has already signaled his support for the measure.

HB 1809, relative to balanced billing under managed care, passed 392-12, indicating a widespread desire among to lawmakers to end a form of medical billing sticker shock.

"This bill protects insured patients from receiving a surprise bill for certain health care services performed by an out-of-network health care provider, when the services were performed at an in-network hospital and are covered by the patient's health insurance plan," according to Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton.

The need for the bill arose after lawmakers heard several complaints from constituents about unexpected charges for "out of network" services, even though they were served by a provider, clinic or hospital that was in the network of their managed care company.

The problem arises when the in-network provider involves an out-of-network provider in the patient care, and the patient is charged out-of-network rates, despite take every precaution to stay within network.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, such "balance billing" charges will have to be resolved between providers and insurers, with the Insurance Department available to mediate unresolved disputes between the parties.

The Insurance Department supports the measure, but hospitals are expected to continue their opposition to the bill in the Senate.


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