Governor Northam To Sign Chair Torian’s Balance Billing Fix

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Provided by Del. Luke Torian’s Office

At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Governor Northam will hold a ceremonial signing of new legislation protecting Virginians from “balance billing.  The legislation was patroned by House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian and Senator Barbara Favola. The virtual event will be attended by Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, Chair Torian, Senator Favola, Delegate Mark Sickles, and Senator George Barker.

The issue of balance billing (when a patient receives a surprise medical bill after inadvertently being treated by a provider not covered by their insurance plan) has received increasing attention in recent years. Close to 30 other state legislatures have enacted consumer protections in the absence of a federal compromise.

Chair Torian issued the following statement: Surprise medical bills can cause financial instability and unfairly put patients in the middle of provider-insurer disputes. I am proud we were able to come together in Virginia to pass a solution that takes patients out of the middle, ensures health care providers are reimbursed for the care they provide, and protects Virginia families. Now, insured Virginians will be able to access health care with confidence, knowing there won’t be a surprise bill coming if a treatment or provider wasn’t covered under their insurance plan.

 This law is modeled after Washington state’s Balance Billing Protection Act. It limits a patient’s liability to their in-network cost-sharing amount and requires insurers to reimburse out-of-network providers a commercially reasonable amount, with any dispute settled through arbitration. Virginia’s comprehensive solution applies to the most common sources of balance billing and ensures care is covered, regardless of final diagnosis.

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