On June 14, Gov. Abbott signed Senate Bill 1264 into law. I had the privilege of cosponsoring this bill that cracks down on the practice of surprise medical billing, while also adding numerous protections to the consumer.
For far too long Texans have been put in situations where they unknowingly receive care from someone who is out-of-network. This typically occurs when a patient is rushed to the nearest hospital, regardless if the provider is out-of-network. Currently, if an insurance company fails to cover the cost, the patient is responsible for the remaining balance.
Under SB 1264, that would change, and an arbitration process would be established. This law places the Texas Department of Insurance in charge to mediate the process taking place between the insurer and provider, thus relieving stress and confusion from the patient.
This bill offers even more protection for the consumers by requiring state agencies to enforce the prohibition and by giving the authority of the Texas Attorney General to bring a civil action against any entity that is in violation.
Texas joins a handful of states that have passed legislation cracking down on surprise billings. Studies have shown arbitration has led to a decrease in both physician charges and out-of-network billing.