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Miller Testifies on Balance Billing Proposal

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller testified before the Pennsylvania State Senate Banking and Insurance Committee
October 26, 2016

Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller testified before the Pennsylvania State Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on the issue of surprise balance billing in Pennsylvania, and steps her department has taken to address the problem. The hearing was held Oct. 19 on Senate Bill 1158 (SB 1158), sponsored by Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), that would provide a proposed solution to surprise balance billing.

Surprise balance billing occurs when a consumer encounters an out-of-network facility or provider at some point during their care. This can occur even if a consumer makes an effort to ensure that providers and facilities through which they receive care are in-network.

“We have heard from consumers who had done their research and understood the providers and facilities they received care from were all in-network, only to find that despite these efforts, they received unexpected and upsetting bills,” said Miller. “Given Gov. Wolf’s and my priority of consumer protection, I believe this is an issue worth exploring, and my department has been doing so,” Miller said.

“SB 1158, though currently not identical to the proposal circulated by the department, works toward the same goal of taking consumers out of these situations and protecting them from surprise balance bills. Sen. Schwank and the department share a similar goal of creating a process for the providers and the insurer to negotiate fair reimbursement for these services.”

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