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SB 172 Health insurance; definitions, payment to out-of-network providers, emergency services.

Introduced by: Barbara A. Favola | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED: (all summaries)

Health insurance; payment to out-of-network providers. Provides that when an enrollee receives emergency services from an out-of-network health care provider or receives out-of-network surgical or ancillary services at an in-network facility, the enrollee is not required to pay the out-of-network provider any amount other than the applicable cost-sharing requirement and such cost-sharing requirement cannot exceed the cost-sharing requirement that would apply if the services were provided in-network. The measure also provides that the health carrier's required payment to the out-of-network provider of the services is a commercially reasonable amount based on payments for the same or similar services provided in a similar geographic area. If such provider disputes the amount to be paid by the health carrier, the measure requires the provider and the health carrier to make a good faith effort to reach a resolution on the amount of the reimbursement. If the health carrier and the provider do not agree to a commercially reasonable payment and either party wants to take further action to resolve the dispute, then the measure requires the dispute will be resolved by arbitration. The measure establishes a framework for arbitration of such disputes which includes (i) a timeline for the proceedings, (ii) a method for choosing an arbitrator, (iii) required and optional factors for the arbitrator to consider, (iv) non-disclosure agreements, (v) reporting requirements, and (vi) an appeals process for appeals on certain procedural grounds. The measure requires the State Corporation Commission to contract with Virginia Health Information (VHI) to establish a data set and business protocols to provide health carriers, providers, and arbitrators with data to assist in determining commercially reasonable payments and resolving disputes. The measure requires the Commission, in consultation health carriers, providers, and consumers, to develop standard language for a notice of consumer rights regarding balance billing. The measure authorizes the Commission, the Board of Medicine, and the Commissioner of Health to levy fines and take action against a health carrier, health care practitioner, or medical care facility, respectively, for a pattern of violations of the prohibition against balance billing. Additionally, the measure prohibits a carrier or provider from initiating arbitration with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice. The measure provides that such provisions do not apply to an entity that provides or administers self-insured or self-funded plans; however, such entities may elect to be subject to such provisions. The measure authorizes the Commission to adopt rules and regulations governing the arbitration process. The measure has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2021. This bill incorporates SB 522 and is identical to HB 1251.