Ohio Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Requiring Notice of Patient Charges
[October 14, 2019]
The Ohio Senate unanimously passed SB 97 last week. Sponsored by Sen Steve Huffman, MD (R-Tipp City), the bill would require a health care provider and insurer to provide the patient with a cost estimate of a service or procedure that is scheduled at least seven days in advance.
This estimate would include the amount the provider expects to receive as payment from the health plan, the amount that the patient will be required to pay and notification that the provider is out of network for the patient, if it applies. If the scheduled service requires a prior authorization, then the responsibility would shift to the insurer to provide a cost estimate. SB 97 now goes to the Ohio House for consideration.
In a statement Huffman said: “Transparency is an essential component for empowering patients to make wise decisions regarding their care. As health care costs continue to rise and Ohio looks for ways to reduce costs and make meaningful reforms to the industry, we must implement common-sense policies to benefit patients. As a member of the health care industry I understand well that the pricing of services are certainly complex, but patients deserve to have information regarding their care readily available to them.”
Recall during state budget deliberations lawmakers called for hospital price transparency language and a provision requiring insurers to cover out-of-network care when provided at in-network facilities. Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed those provisions. A separate bill addressing “surprise billing” accompanying out-of-network care at covered providers is undergoing hearings in the Senate.
In other Statehouse news, a statewide Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementias Task Force will soon be formed. SB 24, which creates the new panel, has been approved by both chambers and is expected to be signed by DeWine. According to supporters, Ohio is the only state that has not created a comprehensive plan for what they called a growing public health crisis.