For Release, May 14, 2015
TRENTON – Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chair Joseph F. Vitale and Assembly Democrats Craig Coughlin, Gary S. Schaer and Troy Singleton on Thursday introduced comprehensive consumer protection legislation intended to eliminate surprise out-of-network health care charges.
“It is completely unreasonable and horribly unsafe to expect a patient lying on a hospital bed waiting to go into surgery to ask the anesthesiologist assigned to their care if they accept their insurance,” said Vitale (D-Middlesex). “For far too long, insurance companies and providers in New Jersey have failed to negotiate contracts in good faith and have used patients as their bargaining chip in an effort to maximize their profits. This bill protects patients by taking them out of the fight and insulating them from balance billing while giving providers and insurance companies a path to compromise.”
“Far too many New Jersey families – even those with quality health benefits plans – find themselves fighting insurance companies over thousands of dollars in out-of-network charges they never even had the opportunity to review, let alone agree to, prior to receiving medical attention,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This legislation is about putting patients first and defending the consumer’s right to be able to make an informed decision about how to proceed with his or her health care.”