Pallone Highlights Progress On Fight To End Exorbitant Surprise Medical Bills

NJBIZ — July 22, 2019

By: Anthony Vecchione

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th District, gave an update Monday at a press conference in Highland Park on legislative progress to combat surprise medical bills patients receive after emergency room or hospital care. He was joined by local leaders and health care advocates.

Last week, Pallone's bill, the No Surprises Act, passed out of his Energy and Commerce Committee with unanimous support. The bipartisan bill would protect patients from surprise medical bills, which millions of Americans have received for out-of-network health care charges.

"My top priority has been to protect patients who receive a surprise bill from an out-of-network health care provider. The days of patients receiving surprise bills, sometimes as high as one hundred thousand dollars, must end," Pallone said. "This bipartisan legislation will shield patients who receive surprise medical bills through no fault of their own. I would like to thank everyone who joined me today for their support of this bipartisan legislation that will shield New Jerseyans from costly surprise medical bills."

The No Surprises Act protects patients from expensive medical bills after receiving out-of-network emergency care or scheduled care from physicians they did not know would be involved in their treatment. The bipartisan legislation requires advanced notice and consent to receive scheduled care from an out-of-network provider and shields patients from out-of-network charges in situations where there is no in-network provider available to treat them.

Research shows that around 20 percent of emergency department visits result in a surprise bill. Patients may also receive a surprise bill after choosing an in-network facility or provider for scheduled care, but unknowingly receiving services from an out-of-network provider they did not choose or did not know would be involved in their care.

"New Jersey led the way by passing one of the nation's strongest out of network protection laws last year," said Maura Collinsgru, health care program director for New Jersey Citizen Action. "Ours was a landmark law that expanded protections to more New Jerseyans than ever before, but far too many state residents remain vulnerable to surprise medical bills.

"If passed, this bi-partisan federal legislation would extend protections to millions of Americans regardless of where they live or how they are insured. Patients would be protected against being charged higher out-of-network rates for services they have no say in selecting. We want to thank legislative leaders like Assembly Speaker Coughlin for leading the way here in New Jersey, and Congressman Pallone and his co-sponsors for championing the cause of ending surprise medical bills for all Americans," Collinsgru said.

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