Legislative panel hears of rise in surprise medical bills

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Surprise medical bills are on the rise and Del. Kathy Byron, chair of the legislature’s Health Insurance Reform Commission, says Virginia’s legislature will act to better protect consumers. The Daily Press reports that the panel heard Monday from insurers and health care providers about balance billing problems. State law bars in-network doctors or hospitals from separately billing patients for more than the negotiated rate, but it doesn’t apply to providers who aren’t in a network. Byron, a Republican, says the legislature will also have to think about the responsibilities of hospitals and other providers that operate in hospitals when one is in a network and the other is not. She says the General Assembly needs to be sure that enhanced protections don’t end up making insurance even more expensive.

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