COLUMBUS- State Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) announced the passage of House Bill (HB) 388 in the Ohio House of Representatives.  The measure, which received unanimous support in the Ohio House on Wednesday, ensures that patients do not receive unexpected bills on medical claims that involve out-of-network providers.  These so called “surprise bills” have cost consumers hundreds if not thousands of dollars in unexpected health care costs.

Cera noted that it might be the first time in the country that legislation passed on this issue that has support from providers and insurers. These two groups came together on language that allows the provider to send the patient’s health plan a bill allowing the insurer to propose an alternative rate, thus kick-starting a negotiation process.  If a dollar amount cannot be agreed upon, the next step is arbitration using four factors:  what the provider is receiving from other plans, what other plans are paying for the same service, has the provider been in-network the last six years, and the agreed upon dollar amount of previous arbitrations. The bill strikes a good balance to make sure that providers are treated fairly while helping insurers to keep down health care costs.

Cera said, “This is a good compromise piece of legislation. It creates a more even playing field and patients are not caught between the provider and the insurance company.”  He went on to say he was glad to see ambulance charges included because they account for a large portion of surprise medical bills.

The bill received numerous hearings in the House Finance Committee, on which Rep. Cera serves as the leading Democrat. The proposal now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.


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