6 state bills targeting balance billing in Q1

Here are six bills addressing surprise billing that were proposed, approved or moved through state legislatures during the first quarter of this year.

1. Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill that would require freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care centers to disclose pricing to patients right away. Senate Bill 18-146 would ensure freestanding ERs are immediately transparent with patients about cost and treatment options and whether or not they accept insurance.

2. New Hampshire representatives overwhelmingly supported House Bill 1809, which passed the House March 6. The bill states providers performing "anesthesiology, radiology, emergency medicine, or pathology services shall not balance bill the patient for fees or amounts other than copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance, if the service is performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical center that is in-network under the patient's health insurance plan." The bill still requires Senate approval to become law.

3. In New Jersey, lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 2039. The bill aims to shield consumers from out-of-network bills when they medically need emergency services or inadvertently received out-of-network care. Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is backing the legislative efforts.

4. House Bill 2339 passed the Oregon legislature last year and took effect March 1. Under the legislation, healthcare providers are prohibited from charging patients out-of-network rates for care provided at in-network facilities.

5. Washington senators didn't approve House Bill 2114 after it passed in the state's House of Representatives. The bill would have protected consumers from receiving a surprise medical bill after seeing an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.

6. In Virginia, House Bill 1584 addresses balance billing by an out-of-network provider of ancillary service. The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, states a "covered person shall not owe or be liable to the out-of-network provider for the ancillary services any more than the allowed amount; and the out-of-network provider shall not balance bill or collect any amount from the covered person for the ancillary services except for the allowed amount."

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