ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Cuomo administration has proposed protecting medical patients from surprise out-of-network medical bills by placing responsibility for those disputed amounts with insurers and providers.
The Department of Financial Services says it regularly receives complaints from consumers.
Department Superintendent Ben Lawsky says it's the top complaint related to health insurance and can leave patients many thousands of dollars in bills that can drive them into bankruptcy.
The administration is pushing new legislation that would hold patients harmless from those bills in all emergency situations and non-emergencies where doctors and hospitals don't make required disclosures.
Elisabeth Benjamin of the Community Service Society says incidents with surprise medical bills happen all the time, for example with an anesthesiologist or other specialist who's not part of a patient's insurance network.