PBS NewsHour interviews End Surprise Medical Bills campaign

Daniela Nuñez
Social Media Program Manager

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Our spot on PBS NewsHour exposed the growing frustration of surprise medical bills, and how states like New Jersey need to act now. “We’ve received, literally, thousands of stories from consumers all over the country that are having this problem,” said Chuck Bell, Programs Director at Consumers Union.

We’re putting your stories of outrageous surprise medical bills front and center in this campaign. PBS featured Leigh Lehman, a computer consultant from Hillsdale, New Jersey who needed heart surgery and verified that the surgeon and hospital accepted his insurance plan, but a few weeks after his surgery he received a bill from a doctor he never even met who was out-of-network. That forced Leigh to dig into his savings to pay off the remainder of the doctor bill that his insurance wouldn’t cover.

A bill we’re supporting in New Jersey, the Out-of-Network Transparency Act (A 1952/S1285), would give back some power to the consumer in these unfair surprise billing fiascoes. According to the NJ for Health Care, the bill would protect consumers from surprise medical bills and stem runaway health care costs, saving New Jersey health care consumers and health care payers at least $1 billion dollars a year. It would cut down on excessive health care charges when doctors and hospitals are out-of-network. When providers and insurance companies don’t agree on payments, it would prohibit balance billing for inadvertant out-of-network charges, so consumers aren’t stuck paying the bills.

Consumers Union strongly urges legislators to pass this NJ legislation now, so consumers don’t have to wait another year for these vital protections to take effect.

Watch our PBS spot now, and share with your friends and family who have been hit with surprise medical bills. If you live in New Jersey, join our efforts by sharing your story, and calling NJ elected officials today. Together we’ll make it known that if we continue to get surprise bills, we’ll speak out!

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