Bill would speed updates to health plan directories to curb out-of-network surprises

Two physician lawmakers revealed Sept. 30 that they are proposing new legislation aimed at improving the accuracy of information in health plan provider directories and stopping surprise out-of-network medical bills.

Rep. Kim Schrier, MD, D-Wash., and Rep. Phil Roe, MD, R-Tenn., said in a news release that they have introduced the Improving Provider Directories Act, which requires health plans to provide, in a highly visible way, an avenue for people to report errors in provider directories. The act also requires health plans to update inaccuracies within 30 days of error notification.

"When a patient is looking for a new doctor, they will often go to the online directory of their insurance provider to make sure the doctor is in network. So imagine the surprise of the thousands of people a year when they get an 'out-of-network' bill for a doctor they were led to believe was in their insurance network," said Rep. Schrier. "Our bill will require these directories to be kept up-to-date and accurate."

Mr. Roe said that he has been listed incorrectly in a provider directory. His bill will "allow patients to be better consumers of healthcare," he said.


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