Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R – Rome) introduced a bill this week to address surprise billing in the healthcare industry.

Senate Bill 293, the “Balance Billing Consumer Protection Act,” would help protect consumers from unexpected charges that may accrue when a patient receiving service from an out-of-network provider through an established price database and system of arbitration.

“This is an issue that plagues our healthcare system and in turn, detrimentally affects the wellbeing of Georgians every single day,” said Sen. Hufstetler. “When patients go in to have a procedure, their main concern is to get immediate help on the health challenges they have to deal with. At their most vulnerable, individuals, in turn, get surprised by the fact their anesthesiologist, radiologist – different professionals, aren’t covered by their network. I have seen firsthand how this impacts the patients in my hospital and I hope this bill will gain the necessary momentum to be passed this year. We need to get the consumer out of the middle of this complicated, and sometimes devastating issue, and let it be negotiated completely between the insurer and provider.”

SB 293 was assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee on January 15th. From there, the committee will meet to consider and study the bill before taking action.