NJ pulls out-of-network bill from floor

New Jersey Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge) abruptly canceled the committee hearing for a bill designed to rein in out-of-network charges by hospitals and physicians due to concern from industry stakeholders, reports The Record.

"Over the course of this past weekend, we have heard from a number of stakeholders who have long supported the bill, asking that we allow additional time," Sen. Vitale said in a statement.

A number of changes made to the proposed legislation during the negotiation process raised concern among some supporters, who requested additional time to fully understand the bill before submitting it for consideration to a budget and appropriations committee.

Under current New Jersey law, patients who involuntarily receive out-of-network care in emergency situations are billed at the hospital's in-network rate for the same services. The patient's insurance company is responsible for footing any outstanding costs.  

Proposed legislation, known as the Out-of-network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act, would have limited the amount hospitals can bill insurance companies for involuntary out-of-network care to between 90 percent and 250 percent of the corresponding Medicare payment rate.This aimed to prohibit providers from billing patients for the difference between the insurer's in-network payment rate and the provider's out-of-network charge.

New Jersey Bill A1952 was one of the most lobbied bills in the last legislative session.

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