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Georgia physician coalition supports legislation to end surprise billing — 5 key insights

The Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap supports Senate Bill 359, a bipartisan bill to end surprise medical billing in Georgia.

Here are five things to know:

1. A 2017 study conducted by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found nearly 50 percent of Georgia marketplace plans offer narrow networks, covering few local physicians and other providers and leaving many Georgia patients fewer in-network providers to choose from. Nearly two-thirds of Georgia's 159 counties are underserved by nurses, physicians and physician assistants, according to a study from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

2. SB 359 creates a standard that insurance companies would use to cover out-of-network emergency services. SB 359 would also require enhanced transparency and outline strong penalties for insurance companies and physicians who violate the law.

3. SB 359 guarantees this reimbursement schedule would be connected to an independently recognized and verified charge-based database. The bill also establishes a dispute resolution process for unexpected events that occur during out-of-network emergency care.

4. Seven state senators introduced the bill, including Republicans Chuck Hufstetler, Dean Burke, MD, Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, Jeff Mullis, Greg Kirk, Blake Tillery, Ben Watson, MD and Democrats Gloria Butler and Nan Orrock.

5. The Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap is a physician and patient-focused group alliance with over 10,000 physicians serving patients in the state of Georgia.

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