AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson today praised the Legislature’s final passage of House Bill 3276. Filed by Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, HB 3276 would help protect consumers from surprise medical bills at freestanding emergency rooms. Earlier today, the Texas Senate approved the measure, sending it to the governor’s desk. Jackson said:
“Patients often rush to the nearest emergency room and unknowingly get treatment not covered by their insurance network. Because many freestanding emergency rooms in Texas do not have contracts with insurance companies, patients who visit these facilities can come home to pricey, out-of-network charges over and above the expected deductibles and copays. These surprise medical bills are sometimes devastating to families.
“I congratulate Representative Tom Oliverson and members of the Texas House and Senate on the passage of House Bill 3276, which is among several significant actions the Legislature is considering this session to help consumers contend with the billing practices of freestanding emergency rooms.
“House Bill 3276 would require a freestanding ER to disclose which health benefit plan’s provider network it’s in or to make clear to patients that it is not a participating provider in any such network.
“Texans deserve cost transparency when getting medical care, including at a time of an emergency. House Bill 3276 would help clear up confusing advertising by freestanding ERs by requiring these facilities to tell Texans explicitly if they are in their network.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. There are more than 2.3 million AARP members in Texas and over 38 million members across the nation.
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