Fight to end surprise medical bills goes national
Assistant Policy Analyst
As more states pass protections to end surprise medical bills, Congress is getting in on the act. In October Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas introduced the “End Surprise Billing Act of 2015,” landmark legislation that would go a long way toward ending surprise bills for all Americans.
The measure would require hospitals and medical facilities to first get your consent if you are treated by someone who is not in-network on your insurance plan. If such consent is not possible—for example, in emergency situations—you would pay only what the facility would have paid for an in-network provider.
“Consumers shouldn’t be the losers in the billing tug-of-war between doctors and insurers,” says Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union.. “This legislation is an important step in taking the ‘surprise’ out of surprise medical bills and ensuring that consumers aren’t on the hook for unexpected charges, especially in emergency situations.”
Our 2015 survey found that nearly one third of privately insured Americans had received a surprise medical bill where their health plan paid less than expected in the past two years. Among respondents, nearly one in four received a bill from a doctor they did not expect to receive a bill from.
These results – and thousands of stories from consumers who’ve been hit with unfair, unexpected bills – led us to launch our End Surprise Medical Bills campaign to put an end to these bills for good.
We’re already working in several states, including California, Texas, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to pass legislation to strengthen protections against surprise medical bills. With the introduction of this new federal bill, legislators across the country are paying attention, and will be pushing Congress to get this legislation passed.
Now we need your help to keep up the momentum and spread the word. You can visit our campaign homepage to share your surprise medical bill story, sign our national petition, or use our Insurance Complaint Tool to get help with a bill and find resources specific to your state.