NJ For Health Care Coalition Opposes S3458/A6245

January 6th, 2022

Maura Collinsgru, Director of Policy and Advocacy for New Jersey Citizen Action, released this statement today on behalf of the NJ For Health Care Coalition.

“The NJ For Health Care Coalition has sent a letter to all legislators opposing passage of S3458/A6245, which would revise New Jersey’s current out-of-network law enacted in 2018. This proposed bill runs counter to the federal “No Surprises Act” championed by New Jersey’s own Congressman Frank Pallone that became effective on January 1. That law expands the protections New Jersey instituted in 2018 beyond the approximately 2.1 million people in health plans regulated by the state, to cover everyone. Now all patients are protected when, without their knowledge or consent, they receive treatment from a health care provider or facility that is not in their insurer’s network, whether in an emergency or because a doctor in an in-network facility doesn’t accept their insurance.

“This bill is ill-timed and ill-advised. Rather than create uniformity with federal law, this bill will create even greater differences that will make the health care system more complex for everyone. We urge the State to make its law consistent with federal law, which provides greater consumer protections due to enhanced patient disclosure requirements, more specificity on enforcements and payment considerations for arbitration.

“Uniformity will reduce administrative costs and confusion for everyone – consumers, patients, employers, employees, caregivers, doctors, hospitals, and insurers.  Patients will know what to expect when seeking treatment, and providers will know their disclosure and billing responsibilities; and patients’ rights and providers’ responsibilities will not vary based on insurance plan status.

“As a coalition of consumer groups, a Regional Health Improvement Collaborative, and union funds and organizations, and business groups, NJ for Health Care is calling on legislators to oppose S3458/A6245. Instead, we ask them to work to ensure better coordination between state and federal agencies so that the state’s current out-of-network protections align with the No Surprises Act to enhance uniformity and protect consumers against surprise medical bills.”