California governor signs balance billing legislation

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill that aims to prevent patients from receiving unexpected medical bills from physicians not covered by a patient's health plan, reports KQED.

Bill AB 72 will require physicians bill patients at in-network rates, or 125 percent of the Medicare rate, if a patient inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network physician, such as an assisting surgeon or anesthesiologist. Legislators will establish an independent review board to address and resolve disagreements between physicians, health plans and patients.

"This is a big win for Californians who have been left with the financial scars from a battle that's really between insurers and providers," Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumers Union, told KQED. 

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