WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Todd Young and seven other lawmakers introduced a new plan to protect patients from “surprise” medical bills.
Young and members of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group—Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Tom Carper (D-Del.)—have been working with patient groups, doctors and insurance agencies for more than a year. Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are cosponsoring the bill.
It’s called the “Stopping the Outrageous Practice (STOP) of Surprise Bills Act of 2019.” Young said families should be focused on recovering instead of being worried about medical bills they don’t expect.
“We’ve come up with an approach that protects families from financial strain by establishing a process that keeps patients out of these billing disputes and enables them to focus on their health rather than the anxiety of unexpected medical bills,” Young said.
The measure would protect patients from surprise balance bills in the following situations:
- When receiving emergency care at an out-of-network facility or by an out-of-network provider
- When elective health care services are provided by out-of-network providers at in-network facilities
- When receiving additional health care services at an out-of-network facility following emergency care when the patient is not able to travel without medical transport to a different facility
The measure also has provisions for transparency in deductibles and transparency requirements for hospitals. You can read the legislation here.