FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 24, 2023
CONTACT: Priya Telang, email@example.com, 313-820-2428
Madeleine Schmidt, firstname.lastname@example.org, 405-822-0533
Legislation to Make Hospital Bills More Transparent and Affordable Approved by House Committee
House Bill 1215 will place common sense limits on hospital ‘facility fees’ and gather critical third-party data
DENVER – Today, a bill to bring transparency to hospital ‘facility fees’ passed Colorado’s House Health and Insurance Committee on a 8-3 vote. House Bill 1215 will make facility fees more transparent, place common sense limits on facility fees for preventive and telehealth visits, and require a third-party report on their impact on hospitals and consumers. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Emily Sirota (D-Denver), Rep. Andrew Boesenecker (D-Fort Collins), Sen. Kyle Mullica (D-Thorton), and Sen. Lisa Cutter (D-Littleton).
Facility fees are charges that are being imposed on patients more and more often by large hospital systems that own freestanding clinics and providers. They can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in addition to charges for actual health services, and typically come as a surprise to the patient when they receive a bill.
“Patients all across Colorado are getting hit with unexpected fees up to and sometimes over a thousand dollars with no clear explanation and no recourse after they’ve already paid for medical services, and these fees often aren’t covered by insurance,” said Rep. Sirota. “House Bill 1215 will make hospital billing more transparent and save Coloradans money on health care. Thank you to my colleagues in the House for supporting this critical bill.”
“These unexplained charges are a major barrier to affordable health care that can drain a family’s bank account, and Coloradans are being forced to pay these fees more and more often as large hospital systems merge and buy up clinics across our state,” said Rep. Boesenecker. “By passing House Bill 1215, we are standing up for patients by demanding lower costs and more transparency.”
By requiring a third-party report, HB 1215 will provide important data to fact-check discrepancies in claims from hospitals on when, why, and how facility fees are charged. The bill also promotes transparency and affordability by requiring that patients be notified of facility fee charges and placing limits on facility fees for preventative services, which are already required to be no-cost for patients under the Affordable Care Act, and for telehealth services and primary care.
“I was recently sent a facility fee bill for $847 that was not covered by my health insurance after I had already paid hundreds of dollars for my son’s doctor’s visit,” said Brittany Tesso of Castle Rock. “Not only that, but the fee was for a telehealth visit for which I never even set foot near a facility. Limiting facility fees for telehealth visits is just common sense. House Bill 1215 will make this system more transparent, affordable, and fair for families like mine who already struggle with the high cost of health care.”
“My family was totally shocked to receive a facility fee for over $2,500 that we were expected to pay out-of-pocket after taking our son to see a specialist for his seizures, even though the provider we visited was in-network,” said Ben Los of Colorado Springs. “House Bill 1215 can bring transparency to facility fees so families like mine aren’t blindsided by $2,500 in hospital charges.”
While Colorado families struggle to afford basic health care, a recent report from the Colorado Department on Health Care Policy and Financing found that hospitals are experiencing growing profits and margins overall. Specifically, from 2018 through 2020, Colorado hospitals were ranked in the Top 10 nationally for costs, prices and profits.
HB23-1215 is backed by Health Care without Hidden Costs, a coalition of organizations focused on making health care more transparent and affordable including the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Centennial State Prosperity, the Committee to Protect Health Care, Small Business Majority, and United States of Care.
Note: Interviews are available upon request.