Washington Consumers Urge Action to End Surprise Emergency Room Bills

Daniela Nuñez
Social Media Program Manager

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
End Surprise Medical Bills

Washington State residents hit with surprise bills for care that they thought would be covered by their insurance are demanding change. Tomorrow, a big vote is scheduled in a key House committee that could determine the fate of legislation that would help end surprise ER medical bills. The legislation—HB 2447—guarantees if you go to the emergency room at an in-network hospital on your insurance, you will pay only in-network prices. The time for such a sensible reform is now.

Our survey found that nearly one in three privately insured Washington residents received a surprise medical bill where their health plan paid less than expected. And 14% were charged at an out-of-network rate when they thought a provider was in-network.

Washington consumers and advocates are speaking out about this problem so lawmakers act now. Last week our activist Julie Drake from Tacoma, WA went to Olympia and shared powerful testimony about the out-of-network ER bill that shocked her after she went to an in-network hospital. People like Julie and other Washington residents need insurance loopholes closed so they aren’t on the hook for huge ER visit bills at in-network hospitals.

If this legislation passes, Washington consumers will no longer be vulnerable to surprise charges for medical tests, or huge bills from anesthesiologists, surgeons and others in the ER. But to get to this protection, we need the House Healthcare and Wellness committee to vote YES on HB 2447 and get this important measure moving toward final passage.

Take a look at this list. If your Representative sits on this committee, please take action today and ask for a YES vote on HB 2447.  This is going to be a close vote, so your action will have real impact!

Even though this legislation would close unfair loopholes when Washington residents are at their most vulnerable, some lawmakers are on the fence, and we may be a vote or two short in committee unless Washington constituents speak out. The doctor-group lobbyists are doing everything they can to stop it from becoming law—they’d rather stick you with big bills and keep things just the way they are. It’s up to consumers to demand the reforms we need to make sure we don’t get hit with big bills that could ruin our finances.

If you live in Washington, join the hundreds who have already taken action and make sure your Representative knows you want this unfair loophole fixed!

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