South Dakota Introduces Legislation to Give Patients Greater Out-of-Network Choice
HB1142, called 'An Act to Promote Patient Choice in Selecting Health Care Providers,' allows patients to use physicians and other providers who meet their insurance company's standards, requirements and terms without paying higher deductibles and co-payments.
"This is a great advance for patients across South Dakota," said Keri Talcott, speaking for the People for Patient Choice committee. "When patients have been getting wonderful medical care and attention from a doctor for years and their employer changes health plans, they shouldn’t be forced to either get a new doctor or pay higher deductibles and co-pays to assure continuity of care."
Proponents of Patient Choice presented economic impact research that shows that the bill will likely save average hundreds of dollars each year for patients who would otherwise access out-of-network providers. That adds to savings gained by using physicians that are closer and more convenient.
Some for-profit insurance programs run by major health care systems penalize patients for using providers from competitive systems.
"It's simple economics,” noted Ms. Talcott. "Patient Choice returns competition to the medical marketplace. Economists agree that competition puts downward pressure on pricing."
Patient Choice goes first before the South Dakota House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday of next week. South Dakota citizens are encouraged to share their opinion with members of the committee and their local legislator.
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