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New Mexico bill to tackle surprise medical billing: 4 things to know

The New Mexico legislature will see a new bill focused on preventing surprise medical bills introduced in early 2018, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

 

There was a measure introduced in the 2017 legislative session that would have prevented physicians from billing for out-of-network charges for emergency care and require the hospital to resolve those issues with medical groups as well as improve price transparency for all medical billing. While the bill had a House Health Committee hearing on the measure, it didn't advance.

Here are five things to know:

1. The Center for Health Policy at The University of New Mexico surveyed 554 adults and found residents are frustrated by unexpected bills they aren't able to resolve.

2. Surprise billing in the state often occurs when patients receive care from out-of-network providers without realizing it. Hospitals or certain facilities may be in-network, but the medical providers giving care are sometimes out-of-network or not covered by the patient's insurance plan.

3. Among those surveyed, 96 percent felt hospitals should notify patients when physicians or technicians are out-of-network.

4. The state's Insurance Superintendent John Franchini drafted new legislation, which he will pursue in the 30-day legislative session in January. The changes would restrict out-of-network billing for some procedures as well as increase provider disclosure requirements.

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