Virginia regulatory agency considers stepping in to stop surprise medical bills

A Virginia regulatory agency is considering whether to get involved in efforts to end surprise-billing, according to TV station WWBT.

The State Corporation Commission is seeking public input until Aug. 9 on a proposal to protect hospital patients from massive bills for unavoidable out-of-network services.

Taking the comments into consideration, the commission will decide whether to enact a change.

"The bureau has experienced a growing number of complaints about balanced billing. What started as a handful of complaints has expanded to as many as 50 a year, but the bureau can only ensure that the insurance company has met its obligations under the term of the policy. That is almost always the case. The commission is currently taking comments on a proposed regulation prepared by the bureau that attempts to improve advance notice to a patient whenever … services might be provided by an out-of-network provider," commission spokesperson Ken Schrad told the station.

If the proposal is enacted by the commission, hospitals would be on the hook for the patient's balance if they do not provide that notice up front, according to WWBT.

The proposal would take effect Oct. 1.


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