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Senator Lesko's SB 1441 would help ease the headaches of insured consumers who are dealing with

Health-care consumers who have been stung by surprise medical bills might soon find some relief from an unexpected source: the Arizona Legislature.

The problem occurs when a consumer seeks care after checking to be sure a doctor, clinic or hospital is part of their insurance company's network — only to be billed later by out-of-network providers such as anesthesiologists or surgical assistants who were part of the chain of care.

That can sometimes result in a whopping medical tab, with the consumer caught between an insurance company that doesn't want to pay more and a medical provider who refuses to accept less.

"Quite frankly, this has happened to several people I know," said Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, sponsor of Senate Bill 1441.

Lesko said she sponsored the measure, advanced Wednesday by the Senate Finance Committee by a 7-0 vote, after a constituent complained about just such an experience. Her husband also received a surprise medical bill years ago from an out-of-network anesthesiologist at an in-network medical facility.

SB 1441 would assign an arbitrator to settle disputes if a consumer visits an in-network facility and gets bills of $1,000 or more from out-of-network medical providers.

Read the entire story here

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