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Texas Association of Health Underwriters Applauds Texas Lawmakers for Ending Surprise Billing

Austin,Texas (PR MediaRelease) June 24, 2019

Legislation protecting Texas patients from surprise medical bills was signed into law today by Governor Greg Abbott, and the Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) applauds the governor and Texas lawmakers who passed one of the nation’s strongest consumer protection laws against surprise (or balanced) billing.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) authored SB 1264, which prohibits health care providers from sending patients surprise bills in situations in which patients have no choice of provider, such as when a patient receives care from an out-of-network doctor at an in-network emergency room or when they receive care from an out-of-network doctor at an in-network facility.

SB 1264:
● Ends surprise billing by out-of-network doctors and facilities when patients have little or no choice over who provides their care.
● Removes patients from the middle of the payment dispute resolution process between health care providers and insurers.
● Makes patients responsible only for their applicable co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles amounts with no additional amounts due resulting from arbitration between the out-of-network provider and health plan.
● Requires health plans to pay reasonable or agreed-to amounts to out-of-network emergency care and facility-based providers and allows those providers to dispute payment amounts through binding arbitration.
● Protects consumers and employers from premium increases and high out-of-pocket costs from
excessive billing and charges in Texas.

TAHU’s President Nicole Scott of United Healthcare said, “TAHU thanks Sen. Hancock and his bipartisan Senate co-author and bill sponsors in the House of Representatives: Sen. John Whitmire (DHouston), Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Houston) and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio).”

“SB 1264 is a groundbreaking solution for Texas consumers who have had to deal with surprise bills for decades,” Scott continued. “TAHU is proud of the Texas Legislature for addressing this problem.”

The Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) represents more than 1,450 licensed health insurance agents, brokers and benefit professionals throughout Texas. TAHU members service the health insurance needs of large and small employers as well as people seeking individual health insurance coverage.

Mike Meroney
Meroney Public Affairs
Texas AHU Lobbyist
512-589-2531
melissap@perrymaninsurance.com

 
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