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April 13, 2022


Bipartisan legislation would boost hospital transparency and improve protections from surprise medical bills

DENVER, CO – The House Health and Insurance Committee today passed two bipartisan bills sponsored by Majority Leader Esgar that will increase hospital billing transparency and save Coloradans money on health care.

“We’ve made tremendous progress saving people money on health care, and these two bills will save Coloradans even more money by improving protections against surprise billing, increasing hospital transparency and limiting debt collections from hospitals that aren’t transparent about what they’re charging,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “These bipartisan bills will ensure that hospitals are transparent and follow the rules when it comes to their billing, and they will protect consumers from unfair surprise bills that can cost them thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

HB22-1285, sponsored by Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Representative Patrick Neville, would save Coloradans money on their health care costs by increasing hospital transparency and prohibiting hospitals that are out of compliance from referring medical debt to collections. In July 2021, President Biden signed an executive order that directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop detailed rules to increase hospital billing transparency. Hospitals must now publicly post their “standard charges,” which are the gross charges, discounted cash prizes, payer-specific negotiated charges, and de-identified minimum and maximum negotiated charges.

Under the bill, hospitals that are not in compliance with federal hospital price transparency regulations will be prohibited from referring, assigning or selling medical debt to collectors, and they will be prohibited from using the courts to obtain a judgment for an outstanding medical debt. The bill would award damages to patients if the courts find that the hospital has violated the provisions of the bill

HB22-1285 passed unanimously.

HB22-1284, sponsored by Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Representative Marc Catlin, would improve Colorado’s surprise medical billing protections by aligning them with recently passed federal legislation. The bill provides clarity to consumers, providers and insurance carriers about how to move forward with surprise billing protections. It adds balanced billing protections for post-stabilization services to ensure that patients are protected from surprise bills until they can consent and be safely transferred to an in-network facility. It mirrors the No Surprises Act’s notice and consent requirements to ensure that out of network providers and facilities provide notice to a consumer before a scheduled service, including an estimate of the total charges the consumer will be responsible for. Finally, it updates Colorado laws to allow for a 90 day period of continued coverage at in-network rates for transitional care.

HB22-1284 passed unanimously.

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