Texas Hospitals Support Protecting Consumers From Unexpected Bills
(AUSTIN, Texas – May 10, 2019) As the U.S. Congress and administration work on solutions to end surprise medical billing, Texas hospitals continue their work with the Texas Legislature to pass model legislation.
With legislation moving through the Texas Legislature to solve the problem of surprise medical bills for emergency or unplanned out-of-network health care services, Texas is positioned to be a national leader on consumer protection.
The THA-supported bipartisan Senate Bill 1264, as it is being considered by the Texas House of Representatives, proposes a patient-friendly and free-market solution that both will protect patients and ensure that health plans and hospitals can negotiate network inclusion and appropriate reimbursement.
“Most Texas hospitals are in network with most private payers,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “The model bill making its way through the Legislature will put an end to surprise medical bills for out-of-network health care services and ensure that hospitals can remain in network and patients will have access to the care they need, when they need it.”
Under current state law, a patient who receives a bill for out-of-network health care services can initiate mediation with the Texas Department of Insurance. Proposed legislation would eliminate the patient’s responsibility but retain the process of mediation for health plans and health care facilities to come to agreement on a mutually acceptable payment amount.
“Lawmakers should protect patients by prohibiting surprise billing,” said Shaw. “But solutions need to steer clear of government overreach into the private market and avoid rate setting. As the federal government begins its work on ending surprise billing, Texas once again can serve as a national example.”
More information on THA’s advocacy to identify a patient-friendly solution to surprise billing is available here.