Bipartisan Surprise Billing Legislation Introduced in Ohio Senate
Bill prioritizes patient protection and incentivizes fair reimbursement
Ohio ACEP is happy to report that bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the Ohio Senate to protect patients from surprise bills. Senate Bill 198 was introduced yesterday by Sens. Stephen Huffman, MD (R – Tipp City) and Nickie Antonio (D – Lakewood). The legislation—which has 7 bipartisan co-sponsors—would prohibit balance billing of patients who receive unanticipated out-of-network care at a hospital that is in their insurance network. The bill then creates a “baseball-style” arbitration process to settle payment disputes between the physician and the insurance company.
As Ohio ACEP members will remember, surprise billing was a hot topic during the state’s budget negotiations. The bill that was ultimately passed by the General Assembly contained surprise billing provisions which would have been harmful to patients as well as the state’s emergency care safety net. Fortunately, Gov. Mike DeWine used his line-item veto authority to strike those portions of the bill, thanks in part to tireless work by Ohio ACEP’s leadership and lobbyist.
The budget was signed into law over the summer, and Ohio ACEP has remained committed to a legislative solution to surprise billing that truly protects patients, keeps them out of the middle of billing disputes, and incentivizes fair reimbursement from insurers. As SB 198 works its way through the legislative process, we look forward to championing the bill every step of the way.
Stay tuned for updates on the bill’s progress, and keep an eye out for Ohio ACEP Action Alerts—grassroots advocacy from our members will likely be key in getting SB 198 across the “finish line!”