House passes bill to curb unexpected hospital charges for patients

HB 2114 passed through the House of Representatives by a vote of 81-17. Representative Eileen Cody and Representative Gerry Pollet introduced the bill at the request of the insurance commissioner to end surprise billing.

The current version of the bill prohibits balance billing for emergency health care services for a covered patient and for nonemergency health care services provided to a covered patient at an in-network hospital. The bill, if passed, will also make it easier for patients to understand which providers are in-network and establish thresholds for an arbitration process when insurers and providers disagree on payment.

“Hard-working families can’t handle these huge hits to their monthly budgets and shouldn’t be responsible for an unclear and confusing billing system,” said Rep. Cody in a press release. “For too long families have been caught in the middle of a contractual dispute between health care providers and the insurers. Let’s get the patient out of the middle and off the hook for something that never should be their responsibility to begin with.”

The bill gained bipartisan support. 48 Democrat representatives and 33 Republican representatives voted for the bill. 17 Republican representatives voted against the bill. The bill has passed to the Senate, which has a Republican majority.

Kylie Walsh: kylie@washingtonstatewire.com

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