Dear New York Policymaker:
Please help protect New Yorkers from harassing and unfair medical bills! Every day, hospitals, insurance companies and other health care providers overwhelm patients with billing practices that scare New Yorkers into forgoing medical care. We ask you to do everything in your power—including supporting legislation, regulations or administrative actions to stop medical billing abuses!
- One Visit, One Bill! Patients should only get one easy-to-read bill after going to the hospital or seeing a doctor. The bill should clearly identify the services and be issued within seven days of those services. Bills should never have vague categories like “miscellaneous” or “other.”
- Cut New York’s medical debt statute of limitations from 6 to 2 years. Sixteen other states have a lower statute of limitations than New York to sue their patients, while New York allows 6. Two years is more than enough time for providers to resolve billing disputes.
- Stop surprise ambulance bills and emergency room charges. Require insurance companies to cover all ambulance bills. Patients rarely have the choice of ambulance—they should all be considered in-network and patients should never be stuck with the bill because an ambulance service is out-of-network. Similarly, patients often get surprises related to emergency charges.
- Ban “facility fees.” Facility fees, while legal, are meaningless hospital and health center overhead charges that have no relationship to any medical service. Patients should only be charged for actual medical services, not overhead.
- Adopt a uniform hospital financial aid form. New York hospitals receive over $1.2 billion from the state to pay for care for financially needy patients. But each hospital is permitted to make up its own form and rules. All hospitals should use the same financial aid application and process.
- Outlaw waiver forms. Providers should never ask patients to waive their rights before providing medical care. The state should create a state-approved form that clearly explains patient financial liabilities and bans the use of forms that ask patients to waive their rights as a patient.
- Set up a patient-friendly hospital charges website for all New York state hospitals. Patients should be able to research actual average charges for common procedures.
Change billing practices now. As a health care consumer, I want to see a difference.