New CA Bill Proposes No Surprise Charges For ER Patients

A pair of California lawmakers are looking to make a patient’s trip to the emergency room less painful financially.

Assemblyman David Chiu and state Sen. Scott Wiener, both of San Francisco, rolled out new joint legislation Monday to deal with the problem of surprise bills from out-of-network hospitals.

Millions of emergency room patients each year are brought in by ambulance and are often unable to tell paramedics which hospital works best with their insurance. If they end up at the wrong hospital, it can drastically increase what they’re charged.

The issue has been particularly prominent at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, which is out of network with all private insurance.

Because the hospital has no contract, the insurance company can pay whatever it wants, and patients get stuck with the rest, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Under the proposal, hospitals would not be allowed to send patients an exorbitant bill or send them to collections for anything other than a co-pay or deductible.

The lawmakers say after a major emergency, the only thing a patient should have to worry about is getting better.

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