Cahill bill on emergency room charges signed into law

Patients whacked with emergency room bills after being taken to a hospital outside their insurance network will now have those charges negotiated by the hospital and their insurer under a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and signed last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislation expands a practice known as independent dispute resolution that was created in 2014 to settle disagreements between medical providers and insurance plans over out-of-network expenses. The Cahill bill subjects emergency-room charges to that same process and eliminates the aggravation for consumers, who generally have no say in which hospital they are brought to in emergencies.

“In many cases, if the patient is forced out-of-network to receive services, excessive charges are disputed by consumers, the hospital and the insurance company,” Cahill, D-Kingston, said in a press release.  “This bill expands a well-established, consumer-friendly protocol for instances like these.”

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