Do you think similar protections should be added at the federal level?
A new Texas law that aims to protect patients from receiving surprise medical bills takes effect this week. Consumer advocates have praised the law as one of the most robust set of billing protections in the nation, though it only applies to the 16% of Texans with state-regulated health insurance.
The intent of Senate Bill 1264 is to remove patients from billing disputes between state-regulated health insurance plans and health care providers.
Previously, when a health insurer declined to pay the full price charged by an out-of-network doctor for a medical procedure, the doctor could bill the patient for the remainder, or balance, of the cost. Now, insurers and health care providers must leave the patient out of billing disputes and negotiate prices for out-of-network care using an arbitration process.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, has been working on a solution for federal plans. He recently said he's encouraged Texas lawmakers have worked to solve the problem of surprise medical bills, but he called federal protections "essential."