NY out-of-network insurance coverage mandated

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York has decided that starting next year, patients will be protected against surprise out-of-network medical bills that have pushed some toward personal bankruptcy.

The measure, signed into law this week, is scheduled to take effect next April 1.

Meanwhile, insurance officials will write regulations on coverage, disclosures to patients and establish an arbitration process intended to settle related billing disputes between doctors and insurers, leaving patients out of them.

Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky says his department receives thousands of complaints annually from insured patients stuck with huge bills.

The measure, proposed by the Cuomo administration and approved by the Legislature, will require doctors and hospitals to more clearly notify patients about who's in their insurance networks and who's not.

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