DENVER (KDVR) – Democrats and Republicans at the Capitol have been saying they want to save Coloradans more money. Both sides of the aisle are coming together in hopes of doing that with healthcare costs.
Two measures unanimously passed through the committee with the goal to stop Coloradans from being hit with outrageous bills.
Earlier this year, a federal law took effect to end high-cost, surprise healthcare billing. But lawmakers know, it’s still happening in Colorado. They want it to stop for good through new legislation.
“What the bill does this year, specifically this year, is align the federal law that was implemented this year with our state law,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar.
The No Surprises Act went into effect nationwide in January. It is supposed to stop insured patients from being hit with expensive healthcare bills if they receive care outside their insurance network but some places in Colorado may not be following it.
The Problem Solvers received emails, as recently as March and April of this year, showing out-of-coverage costs from Colorado hospitals that climbed as high as $20,0000 and $30,000.
“When it comes to who pays that bill, that should be between your provider and your insurance company. They should make those conversations and they should figure out who pays who,” Esgar said. “The consumer should be out of that. You pay your insurance premiums. You shouldn’t have to be stressing about ‘is this person doing emergency care on me in my network or out of my network,'” Esgar said.
Lawmakers are also looking to pass a measure to make sure providers who are not in compliance with notice regulations aren’t able to punish you if you’re not able to make a payment on time.
“If there are federal rules that say hospitals need to be in compliance when it comes to making sure their prices are open and transparent, Esgar explained. “We’re saying here in Colorado if a hospital is not in compliance, they cannot, then send any medical debt on a person to a debt collector.”
She is working with Douglas County Republican Patrick Neville on that measure and has said that Colorado lawmakers all want to make sure the state gets this right.
“We had the providers, we had the insurance companies, and we had the hospitals all at the table to make sure we all were playing by the same rules, that they all understood what we were doing and that we were all looking out for the consumer at the end of the day because that’s what we have to do,” Esgar said.
Lawmakers passed a bill that requires providers to notify patients about out-of-network costs back in 2019, but they are hoping to catch anyone out of compliance through these new measures.