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Groups Join Forces to Protect Texans from Surprise Medical Bills

With thousands of Texans getting hit by surprise medical bills, eight organizations representing consumers, businesses, and health insurers have joined forces in support of legislative action to protect patients from unexpected and excessive health care costs.

The leading organizations, including AARP Texas, have come together to advance five key principles to ensure that patients get the care they need at costs they can afford.

“Too often, Texans are getting slammed with surprise, out-of-network bills due to no fault of their own,” said Bob Jackson, state director of AARP Texas. “Surprise billing hurts patients and causes many of them severe financial harm. This year, the Texas Legislature has an opportunity to help by keeping Texas families out of the fray of billing disputes between insurers and medical providers.”

Among organizations signing on to the principles are: AARP Texas, Center for Public Policy Priorities, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, NFIB, Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Life & Health Insurers, Texas Association of Health Plans, and the Texas Association of Health Underwriters.

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By signing onto these guiding principles, the organizations agree:

* Everyone in Texas deserves affordable, high-quality coverage and care, and control over their health care choices.

* State legislative action is needed to protect consumers so that they are not financially penalized when they receive out-of-network care through no fault of their own. In these circumstances, providers should be prohibited by law from sending a surprise bill to a patient.

* Health care providers should be fairly compensated. The Department of Insurance should be able to identify and intervene if an insurer shows a pattern of paying unreasonably low amounts to out-of-network providers.

* State policy should restrain costs and ensure quality networks.

* Patients should be informed when care is out of network. Patients should receive a notice that a provider is not in-network – and such a notice needs to be meaningful, timely, specific, and in plain language. The disclosure should provide patients with a meaningful opportunity to seek in-network care, and an estimate of the costs of out-of-network care.

Texas Consensus Statement on Surprise Medical Bills -FINAL with Organizations

 

For more information, contact: Mark Hollis, 512.480.2429 or mhollis@aarp.org

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