California Inches Closer To Passing Measure Protecting Patients From Surprise Bills
The battle in California could influence bills pending in states across the country, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Hawaii and Missouri.
After 16 Years Of Debate, Legislation On Surprise Medical Bills Pushes Forward
A measure to protect California consumers from surprise medical bills — among the longest-debated issues to be considered by state lawmakers — moved closer than it’s ever been to becoming law when the Senate approved it Monday with a 35-1 vote. The bill would relieve patients from having to pay surprise medical bills out of pocket by requiring insurers to reimburse out-of-network doctors and other health providers a “fair amount” and doctors to accept the payments, said its author, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). That rate would be 125 percent of the amount Medicare pays for the same service or the insurer’s average contracted rate for the service, whichever is greater. (Ibarra, 8/30)
California Legislature Debates Surprise Medical Bills
For the second time in as many years, California legislators are debating a bill that would protect patients from paying surprise medical bills when they inadvertently get treatment from doctors who are not covered by their insurance. Under the bill, AB 72, consumers would only pay the equivalent of in-network rates if, for example, during surgery covered by insurance, they are treated by an out-of-network anesthesiologist, or have X-rays read by an out-of-network radiologist. AB 72 is in the California Senate and must be approved before going to the state assembly and governor. The state legislature has until Aug. 31 to act, or the bill effectively dies in committee. (Ross, 8/29)