SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An effort supported by state Rep. Michael Kelly, D-Chicago, to protect consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills passed the House Thursday with bipartisan support.
“When someone is facing a health emergency, particularly in these difficult times, they need to get the care they deserve without being worried about an unexpected balance bill that can further upend their life,” Kelly said. “This measure aligns Illinois with new federal protections, and could save families thousands of dollars.”
Kelly was a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 4703, which amends state law to reflect the recently-implemented federal No Surprises Act. Under the measure, consumers have new protections against unexpected “balance bills,” which are charged to patients when their health plan does not fully cover the bill from an out of network provider. The federal act restricts excessive out-of-pocket costs levied on consumers who may have received emergency care or air ambulance services from out-of-network providers, as well as care from out-of-network providers at in-network facilities.
Emergency services must continue to be covered without any prior authorization, regardless if the provider or facility is in-network. In addition to updating state laws to reflect the federal policy, House Bill 4703 creates a mechanism for out-of-network providers and health insurers to resolve disputes.
“Sometimes patients inadvertently receive care from someone out of network, and they don’t realize it until they receive the bill,” Kelly said. “I’m glad to see that action was taken on the federal level, let’s make sure we’re fully implementing these needed protections here in Illinois.”