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Medical billing shouldn’t be surprise

A new law in Ohio keeps patients from getting hit with unexpected medical bills after certain emergency treatments. It is a law that works in conjunction with one at the federal level.

Patients are now protected from getting bills above their in-network rate for emergency and in some circumstances, unanticipated out-of-network care, with the cost-sharing amounts equaling the patients’ in-network amounts, according to an Ohio Capital Journal report. Meanwhile the federal law won’t hold patients responsible for out-of-network emergency bills such as air ambulance emergency transport and care they receive at any in-network medical centers from out-of-network providers.

Anyone who has undergone any kind of medical procedure knows how expensive these are. In fact, a news release from the Ohio Department of Insurance said surprise medical bills are at the top of the list of expenses that most fear they can’t afford.

“A patient can do everything right but still find themselves waking up from surgery, expecting to pay their standard co-pay, only to find out their anesthesiologist was out-of-network and they owe several thousand dollars in surprise bills,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “This new law will make the costs of medical care more transparent and ban most surprise medical bills.”

Both laws are important steps in protecting patients from unexpected out-of-network bills. More transparency and honesty about billing is still necessary. Patients are not delaying procedures simply because they are worried about COVID-19. They are also worried about whether they will be able to afford them.

For now, though it is good know we have made headway on a problem that should have taken nearly this long to fix.

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