State Representative Adam Holmes (R-Nashport) introduced House Bill 388 (HB 388) earlier this month that would end surprise medical billing.
“More and more Ohioans are being stuck with surprise medical bills. They deserve action. This legislation is about people, it’s about patients. When you or a loved one is recovering from surgery or a procedure, the last thing you need is more surprises. It’s time to stop playing ‘gotcha’ with patients and let them focus on getting well,” he said.
Holmes is calling the bill the “Family Pocketbook Protection Act.” In his sponsor testimony, he stated “[This is] legislation that will protect Ohioans from surprise medical bills and will do so in a way that will NOT increase health care costs.” (emphasis his)
He explained the legislation to the committee.
In short, HB 388 prohibits balance billing, utilizes a free market payment approach and provides a baseball style arbitration process.
Bans Balance Billing. HB 388 protects Ohioans from surprise bills when they did NOT have a chance to choose in network care – specifically, out of network emergency care and out of network care in in-network hospitals.
Free Market Payment Approach. In both these situations, HB 388 would require the health plan to pay the out of network doctor and/or emergency room hospital a reasonable, market rate for the out of network service.
The Rep. also told Members, “In all other out of network care situations, HB 388 allows out of network providers to charge “whatever they want” when the patient agrees, up front, to pay for the out of network service.”
Nine proponents testified in favor of the bill, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters. Five opponents have testified, including the Ohio Medical Association and Mount Carmel Health System.
Rep. Holmes, a Marine Corps veteran, was appointed to the 97th House District in February. The vacancy was created by the appointment of former Rep. Brian Hill to the Ohio Senate last fall.
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