Zurik: Lawmakers consider requirement for 'balance billing' disc - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Zurik: Lawmakers consider requirement for 'balance billing' disclosure

RIVER RIDGE, LA (WVUE) -

A state lawmaker's bill would require healthcare providers to warn consumers about the prospects for "balance billing" in their medical charges.

We told you about balance billing. That's where you can go to a hospital emergency room, or even have a baby, and even though you go to an in-network facility, you could be treated by an out-of-network doctor who doesn't work directly for the hospital.

It's a practice FOX 8 highlighted in a recent Cracking the Code report, along with our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and ClearHealthCosts.com.

Representative Kirk Talbot of River Ridge has a bill that won't prevent balance billing, but does mandate that facilities notify patients that balance billing may occur, and give patients a list of doctors at the facility.

"We all know it's a problem," Talbot says. "The thing is getting healthcare providers, insurance companies, hospital administrators all in the same room. When you talk to them separately, it's always the other guy's fault, it's this guy's fault, it's that guy's fault. You know, whatever, whoever's at fault, if you can use that term, the patient is the one that always gets the short end of the stick. And that's what I'm trying to do.

"This is almost like a bill of rights for patients," he continues. "They need to just let them know what the possibilities are before they go in."

You can read Rep. Talbot's bill at the Legislature's web site. It has passed the full House and heads to the Senate Insurance Committee Wednesday morning.

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You can read NOLA.com's Cracking the Code coverage here.

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