Georgia Watch supports the passage of legislation that takes patients out of the middle and reduces surprise medical bills.
Surprise medical bills occur when an insured patient encounters out-of-network providers at an in-network facility during the course of care. A few weeks later, the patient receives a bill for the portion of the charges not covered by the insurer. This process, called balance or surprise billing, can leave the patient stuck with an exorbitant bill.
We believe patients should be protected from these egregious bills. Georgians should not be expected to pay out-of-pocket to settle disputes between the provider and the insurer. For this reason, we support legislation that takes patients out of the middle of these disputes.
Specifically, we support legislation that protects Georgians from surprise medical bills by:
- Ensuring that patients are “held harmless” in billing disputes between insurance companies and providers;
- Requiring patients to give consent first before receiving out-of-network services;
- Enabling insurers and providers to settle any disputes through a resolution process.
Current legislation on surprise billing has been introduced by Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome) and Representative Lee Hawkins (R – Gainesville). Senate Bill 359 and House Bill 888 respectively, these identical pieces of legislation are aimed at eliminating balance or surprise billing for many healthcare services.
If you have a surprise billing story, please share that with us here.