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Newly signed S.B. 1441 creates a pathway for Arizonans to dispute and settle out-of-network medical

Balance billing has been a problem for years and even though it's illegal in other states, it's very legal here in Arizona. But not for long.

“I'm thrilled!” State Senator Debbie Lesko says Arizona consumers should be just as excited.

Lesko sponsored a bill that helps eliminate something referred to as "balance billing" in the medical field. And that legislation, just recently passed.

“This legislation is a big win for patients in Arizona. Now they have a way to settle their surprise medical bills; this is such a big problem,” said Lesko. And, balance billing is a big problem. Just ask Carrie Wallinger.

She was recently profiled in a 3 On Your Side and said she's a victim of balance billing.

“Panic! I don't have $9,000 to pay for something like that,” said Wallinger.

Wallinger's finger was injured breaking up a fight between her dogs. And although the hospital she went to is considered "in network" with her insurance carrier, the doctor who stitched up her finger is out of network.That doctor is from the Arizona Center for Hand Surgery and after being paid the lower, in-network amount from Wallinger's insurance, they sent Wallinger a bill for the remaining balance, $9,000. The Arizona Center for Hand Surgery has been profiled in the past for balance billing and even threw me off their property saying they did not want to talk about their billing practices.“Here is your business card, and please leave the property,” an employee said. “Okay, you don't want to talk. Then please tell whoever needs to know that I'm airing a news report on your billing practices,” Gary Harper said.

Senator Lesko says now consumers will get relief.

Read the entire story here

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