As the legislative session moves full-speed ahead, state lawmakers continue to look at what is important to Hoosiers, including helping curb growing health care costs. This session, House Republicans passed a bill to stop surprise, out-of-network medical billing.

Surprise billing is when an individual goes to an in-network health care provider for a service, but is unknowingly seen by an out-of-network physician. The patient is then left with an expensive medical bill not covered by insurance. Surprise billing can happen for a number of reasons, for example, a person could have a surgical procedure with a surgeon covered by insurance, but another medical provider such as an anesthesiologist is out-of-network, unbeknownst to the patient. After the procedure, the patient has to pay an unexpected and high medical bill.

Unfortunately, approximately 8 percent of all emergency visits in Indiana result in surprise medical billing. Across the nation, 50 percent of all emergency ambulance rides result in surprise medical billing.

Proposed legislation would prohibit health care providers from billing in-network patients for amounts exceeding in-network rates. Patients would still be responsible for paying deductibles, copayments and coinsurance amounts, and would continue to have the option to receive services from out-of-network providers.

House Bill 1004 passed out of the House unanimously and is now being considered by the Senate. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.