Legislation boosts hospital transparency and improves protection from surprise medical bills
DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills into law that will increase hospital pricing transparency and save Coloradans money on health care.
HB22-1285 sponsored by Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, Representative Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City and Senator John Cooke, R-Greeley will increase hospital pricing transparency practices and save health care consumers money.
“Our bipartisan laws will save Coloradans money on health care by improving hospital price transparency and protecting patients from surprise billing,” said House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar. “Hospitals are required to be open and honest about what they’re changing patients, and our bills signed into law today by Governor Polis will not only ensure transparency but limit 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 this legislation protects them against surprise medical bills that are often shockingly expensive.”
“According to federal law, hospitals are required to be transparent about the price of services they provide patients,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno. “By preventing Colorado’s hospitals from sending medical debt to collections if they are out of compliance with these requirements, this new law will protect patients and empower Coloradans to make the right health care decisions for themselves and their families.”
HB22-1285 saves 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 law, hospitals that are not in compliance with federal hospital price transparency laws 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.
Governor Polis also signed HB22-1284, sponsored by Majority Leader Esgar, Representative Marc Catlin, R-Montrose and Senators Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, and Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, to improve surprise medical billing protections in Colorado.
“We need to do everything we can to protect Coloradans from malicious surprise billing practices, and instead help them access the care they need while saving them money,” said Senator Brittany Pettersen. “This new law will increase protections for patients, lower the cost of health care for Coloradans, and improve patient outcomes as we work to build a healthier Colorado for all.”
HB22-1284 boosts Colorado’s surprise medical billing protections by aligning them with recently passed federal legislation. The law 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 a good-faith estimate of the total charges the consumer will be responsible for. Additionally, it updates Colorado laws to allow for a 90-day period of continued coverage at in-network rates for transitional care.