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April 26, 2022


Legislation would boost hospital transparency and improve protections from surprise medical bills

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

HB22-1285 passed the House today by a vote of 63 to 1 and would increase hospital pricing transparency practices. HB22-1284 passed the House yesterday by a vote of 63 to 0 and will improve surprise medical billing protections in Colorado.

“These bills work to save Coloradans money on health care by improving hospital price transparency and protecting patients from surprise billing,” said Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Hospitals are required to be open and honest about what they’re changing patients, and our bill not only ensures transparency but limits the hospital’s ability to collect medical debt if they’re not in compliance. Coloradans deserve to know what they’re getting when it comes to health care, and our legislation protects them against surprise medical bills that are often outrageously expensive.”

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 with federal price transparency laws 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 so that consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for health care services.

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.

HB22-1284, 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 balance 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 federal law’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.

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