DENVER – Finally, after years of legislative efforts, consumers are on the cusp of having more robust protections from surprise out-of-network medical bills. With the passage of HB19-1174 through both chambers, this bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. Colorado joins nine other states in passing comprehensive protections for consumers who have inadvertently seen an out-of-network provider. House Bill 1174 will:
Prohibit balance bills being sent to consumers when they unknowingly receive out-of-network care
Notify consumers of their rights and protections in these scenarios
Set a reasonable reimbursement rate that insurers pay to out-of-network hospitals and doctors to prevent egregious out-of-network charges
This statement can be attributed to Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative:
“Coloradans are on the verge of finally having the protections from surprise out-of-network bills we deserve. With this law, consumers will no longer be sent surprise bills with excessive out-of-network charges, will also protect consumers from being sent to collections when they shouldn’t be and will put more money back in their pockets when inadvertently seeing an out-of-network provider. This is a huge win for the financial security of Coloradans, who can now feel more confident accessing the health care they need without fear of getting unexpected bills.
“This legislation sets reasonable reimbursement rates so that doctors and hospitals can’t arbitrarily choose what to charge patients when they can’t avoid seeing an out-of-network provider. Some health care providers have chosen to stay out of network for years, a predatory practice that allows them to make money off the backs of consumers. That exploitation ends with this bill.
“Legislators have finally put consumers first by passing HB 1174. Thankfully, they listened to the growing number of Coloradans who have been hit by these arbitrary surprise bills and the costly toll they take on their physical, mental, and financial well-being.”
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members advocating for high-quality, affordable and equitable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).