This is the third and final blog in our Surprise Billing series. Our first two blogs addressed legislation in Texas and California limiting “surprise” or “balance” billing. This article will briefly touch on surprise billing legislation that other states across the nation have implemented, and also look at proposed federal legislation that mirrors those state laws.

In today’s political climate, it is rare to have both sides of the aisle agree on the need to tackle a pressing issue. But leaders from both parties see eye-to-eye when it comes to ending surprise medical billing, a problem that arises in roughly 1 in 5 emergency department visits. However, agreeing that something needs to be fixed is only the first step—agreeing on how to fix it is another, much more difficult, issue. There have been proposals, from both the House and the Senate, with bipartisan support that are based on existing state legislation. Congressional legislation regarding surprise billing is imperative for many Americans, because state legislation does not protect patients enrolled in self-insured employer health plans due to preemption by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
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This is the second blog of our Surprise Billing Series. This article will look at California’s Assembly Bill No. 72 which added sections to the California Health and Safety Code and to the California Insurance Code. This bill was one of the first to limit surprise billing and mandate a minimum re-payment amount from insurers for affected out-of-network services and as such has served as a case study for surprise billing legislation.

On September 23, 2016, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 72 (“the Law”). The Law applies to Health Care Service Plans regulated by the California Department of Managed Health Care (“DMHC”) and health insurers regulated by the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) who have issued, amended, or renewed plans or policies after July 1, 2017. The Law has allowed other states across the US, as well as the Federal government, to observe how a change in handling surprise billing could affect patients and health care providers.
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