Surprise Medical Billing Legislation on the Move

January 27, 2020

Bills designed to address the issue of surprise medical billing were moved out of the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee last week.

Senate Bills 570, 571, 572 and 573 work to lessen the impact of two surprise medical billing situations: the situation where the patient faces an emergency health incident and unknowingly receives out-of-network care, and situations where a patient is scheduling an appointment or procedures and would benefit from knowing whether the service is in-network or out-of-network.

Employers are often on the front lines of having to help their employees understand their insurance bills and why they may have received a bill for $100, $500 or several thousands of dollars from an out-of-network health care provider practicing at an in-network facility. The employer is often the one explaining why, even though the patient was never told the network status of the provider or given an estimated cost for procedure, he or she must pay this surprise medical bill.

Ideally, the free market would settle these problems. But if healthcare and health insurance were a free market, prices for health care goods and services would be set freely between patients and health care providers. That is not the reality of our system today. The price of these services is not negotiated by the patient and thus patients are being blind-sided by these billing practices. In emergency situations, good questions cannot be asked about other options and out-of-pocket costs associated with the procedure. Even in non-emergency situations, patients lack the necessary tools to explore their options. This package of bills works to address those problems and find a solution. 

The Michigan Chamber will be advocating for passage of this bi-partisan package of bills by the Michigan Senate. Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at wblock@michamber.com