Georgia's efforts to end surprise medical bills: 4 notes

Georgia repeatedly has failed to pass legislation addressing surprise medical bills, but a solution could be on the horizon, according to a Georgia Health News report.

Four notes:

1. Patients may receive unexpected medical bills after receiving emergency care from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility. These bills can leave them on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

2. Georgia lawmakers have tried to address the issue. One legislative proposal focused on providing patients with more information on out-of-network providers and costs, while another established a formula for insurer payments to physicians for care outside the coverage network, according to the report. The first was backed by insurers, and the second was backed by physician groups. In the end, Georgia Health News reported, a compromise was not reached.

3. State lawmakers may take up the issue again soon. State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, told Georgia Health News last month that he has talked "with all sides on this issue, and I believe there will be a serious attempt to solve out-of-network billing the next session."

4. At the federal level, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators announced a bill that aims to prevent an out-of-network provider at a hospital that is in the patient's coverage network from charging patients more for emergency care than they would have paid under their insurance.

Read the full Georgia Health News report here.


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