New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on October 17, 2019 further reinforcing New York’s Surprise Medical Bill Law, originally enacted in 2014. That bill, the first of its kind in the nation, is intended to comprehensively protect New York consumers from surprise medical bills for services rendered by out-of-network providers at in-network hospitals. With the October 17th legislation, the bill has now been extended to include emergency services, as well as inpatient services following an emergency room visit.
New York Assembly Member Kevin Cahill commented: “Relieving consumers of the aggravation associated with billing disputes between health care providers and insurance companies is one step closer to completion.” New York Senator Liz Krueger added, “This new law will protect New York families from outrageous surprise medical bills and help keep overall medical costs down.”
Under this legislation, health insurance companies are now required to ensure that patients will not incur greater out-of-pocket costs from services administered by a non-participating provider than they would have incurred from a participating provider. “In an emergency, every second counts and it’s ridiculous to expect someone facing a potential life or death situation to first check and see if a hospital is part of their health insurance network,” said Governor Cuomo.
Also included in the bill is a requirement that subjects hospital charges to an independent dispute resolution process that was established under the original 2014 Surprise Medical Bill Law.
This legislation is effective immediately.