Washington Legislature Not Yet Done: Special Session Begins

Although the Legislature has passed a number of bills during its regular session that ended Sunday, including some related to health care access, it has not yet settled on a budget for the upcoming two-year period beginning on July 1st. Some bills that appeared dead may be revived in the new Special Session that began Monday, especially if they are considered “necessary to implement the budget.” See NoHLA’s Legislative Update #4 for details on bills and their statuses as of April 20.

This week we highlight a bill to end “surprise billing,” which is when patients receive bills from health care providers who are not under contract with their health insurance company. Patients often get caught in the middle when insurers and providers have not signed a contract.

House Bill 2114 would protect patients from being billed higher amounts for emergency services and certain other services provided at an in-network hospital when the patient receives treatment from an out-of-network provider – one who does not have a contract with their health insurer. Patients must be given advance information that providers are out-of-network.

In the past two years, nearly 1 in 3 Washingtonians received an unexpected medical bill that they didn’t realize they could get covered, according to this Consumer Reports Survey. This bill would be a first step toward remedying the problem.

Take Action!

Email or call your State Senator and ask them to support HB 2114 and to pass it during this special session! Here are ways to get in contact with your Senator:
1. Use this website to find your district. Click on your Senator’s name to get their phone number and email address.
2. Call the State Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask the operator to be transferred to your Senator’s office.
3. Search for a specific bill and click on “Comment on this bill” in the upper right hand corner. You will be directed to a form where you can include a brief statement of support.

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