Editorial: Putting an end to surprise medical bills


Toledo Blade



Ohio consumers could see the end of those nasty surprise medical bills under the terms of a bill moving through the General Assembly.

This is a good plan, particularly as many Ohioans will face medical expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the burden of unexpected, often hefty, medical bills was an issue that lawmakers needed to solve.

More and more consumers complain that they have received a bill for medical treatment that they had thought was covered by their insurance. In some cases, the bills amount to thousands of dollars that patients can’t afford.

In many instances, these bills stem from cases in which patients end up unwittingly going out of their approved insurance network.

The Ohio House of Representatives has approved a new version of a bill aimed at curbing unexpected medical bills that is expected to get the support from Gov. Mike DeWine that a previous version lacked.

House Bill 388 calls for out-of-network providers to send bills to patients’ insurance companies.

After getting a bill from an out-of-network provider for one of their insured patients, the insurance companies can then negotiate by offering a different amount. The provider seeking payment can accept the insurance company’s offer or negotiate further. If the bargaining fails, the matter can be resolved with arbitration.

What matters most is whether the bill will put a stop to the sticker shock of medical bills for patients who weren’t expecting them. Ohio consumers have waited long enough for relief and the state Senate and Governor DeWine should embrace this compromise solution.

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