Ever Gotten a Surprise, ‘Out-of-Network’ Medical Bill? They’re Now Illegal in Michigan
Well, that's something good to start the week with!
It's happened to all of us - you go to the emergency room or urgent care (somewhere other than your regular doctor) and you're probably wondering, why you bleed profusely or cough til you puke, "Am I going to get a separate bill for this?"
Ahhhh, yes - the surprise "out-of-network" bills that show up a few weeks later in the mail. Because apparently, in your sickened state, you didn't research whether or not the provider you might see (because you would've known ahead of time, right? *sarcasm*) is "in-network."
Last week, Michigan's Governor signed a bill into law that will make those bills illegal.
It's called "balance billing;" when medical providers send bills to patients to cover expenses that are not in their insurance network. And now, Michigan is one of 31 states to have some consumer protection from it.
According to the Detroit Free Press, for non-emergency medical care, an "out-of-network provider must send the patient a disclosure form at least 14 days before the scheduled medical service. The form must explain how his or her insurance company may not cover all services and that they would be personally responsible for any uncovered costs."
And, under the new law, bills that arise because of out-of-network care are now to be negotiated between the provider and the insurance company, and NOT the patient.
I'm so happy to hear this. The fact that we pay hundreds of dollars every month for health insurance and WE have to do the leg work is insanity.