State Reps. Roger Hauck (R-Mt. Pleasant) and Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park) have spearheaded legislation to protect Michigan residents from the practice of surprise medical billing.
Surprise medical bills typically stem from a disagreement between a patient’s insurer and an out-of-network medical provider leaving the patient stuck with the bill. Patients often either do not have the choice or are not given adequate notice that the medical service is not in-network.
“When facing a medical emergency, the last thing patients should have to worry about is whether each and every member of that medical facility is in-network,” Hauck said. “In a world where the number one leading cause of bankruptcy is medical expenses, patients deserve to know their cost of care. Patients cannot avoid these unfair out-of-pocket costs without more transparency.”
“We can no longer pretend that this is an acceptable way for the system to operate,” Liberati said. “There’s no other product or service where this sort of billing practice occurs. Michigan residents have a right to know about all out-of-pocket expenses before undergoing a medical procedure.”
The bipartisan plan requires medical providers to give 24 hours’ notice if their service will result in out-of-pocket costs to a patient along with a written estimate of those costs.
In emergency situations, where consent cannot be given, the patient will still be protected from surprise fees.
“This is ultimately about making health care more affordable for the people of Michigan,” Hauk said. “Rep. Liberati and I are committed to working together to ensure every Michigan resident gets the medical care they need.”
The bills are expected to be referred to a committee on Tuesday.