New law helps customers with surprise medical bills

It happens all the time, but a new bill that was recently signed into law, is hoping to help with some of those bills.

You go to the doctor for a visit you think is covered, only to get slapped with a surprise sky-high bill in the mail weeks later. 

It happens all the time, but a new bill that was recently signed into law, is hoping to help with some of those bills. 

Peoria Senator Debbie Lesko is behind the bill. 

"It's just awful. I had a constituent contact me earlier this year and got a surprise medical bill for several thousand dollars. Something that was unexpected and through no fault of her own," said Lesko. 

Lesko said the constituent checked to see if the hospital and doctor were in her insurance network, "And sure enough she got a bill from an out of network doctor," said Lesko. 

The new legislation aims to stop similar bills. 

It would work like this: 

First, you would fill out a form with the Department of Insurance to see if you qualify. 

Your bill would have to be $1,000 more or over what your deductible was to qualify. 

Then, the Department of Insurance would set up a conference call between you, the doctor and the insurance company to settle on a price. 

"In Texas, when this is done, over 94 percent of all the cases are settled right then and there," said Lesko. 

If they are not, then the case would move on to arbitration. A private arbitrator would settle the amount a patient should pay. 

The legislation won't take affect until 2019. 

 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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