New Law Now Protects Patients From Surprise Medical Bills in Washington
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Effective Jan. 1, 2020, certain medical providers are prohibited from sending surprise bills to consumers in Washington state under a new law that Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler championed.
Patients in Washington who receive emergency services or certain services at an in-network hospital or surgical facility cannot be surprise or ‘balance’ billed from an out-of-network provider.
“For more than a decade, we’ve heard from many people hit with a balance or surprise medical bill,” said Kreidler. “They shared their stories (www.columbian.com) of receiving a bill on top of what they expected to pay, despite going to their health plan’s hospital or facility. Just within the last year we learned of two consumers who received surprise bills of over $100,000 and who both faced losing their homes and medical bankruptcy.”
Washington is just one of 13 states to approve comprehensive protections against surprise bills. Its law is considered among the strongest in the nation.