Surprise! Lawmakers hear legislation tackling unforeseen medical bills

health care

health careImagine getting an unanticipated $800 hospital bill you’re not able to pay. After weeks of daily phone calls trying to collect the unpaid money, the only option you’re given is to split the payment into two, which is also not feasible.

Trying to pay a surprise medical bill can wreak havoc on a person.

For some speaking at  Assembly Health and Human Services Committee hearing Wednesday, surprise medical bills are a harsh reality.

With days left before proposed legislation has to pass out of committee to survive, lawmakers heard a bill that would begin to tackle unforeseen medical bills.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, who presented Assembly Bill 469 Wednesday, said the bill was a compromise that took into consideration the concerns of health insurance and medical providers while taking the patient out of the middle.

Among some of its provisions, the legislation says if a person has health insurance but somehow ends up at an out-of-network provider during a medical emergency, the out-of-network provider is prohibited from charging more than what the person would have paid in network. The bill also requires medical providers to move a patient to an in-network facility within 24 hours of a person becoming stable.

If the now out-of-network provider previously had a contract with the insurer, the legislation also leaves insurers on the hook to pay a percentage of the contracted rate — if the contract was within 12 months, they have to pay 108 percent of the rate.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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