Every year, thousands of New Yorkers find themselves responsible for a surprise medical bill from a doctor, like an anesthesiologist, who becomes involved in their care but, unbeknown to the patient, is not covered by their insurance.
Now a provision in the state budget agreement announced Saturday is intended to protect consumers by requiring that they be given a reasonable amount of notice when an out-of-network doctor will be treating them.
If they are stuck with a surprise bill, patients will be responsible only for whatever their co-pay would be if the doctor were in-network. The out-of-network doctor and the insurance company will have to hash out the bill using what is known as baseball arbitration, with each proposing a price and an arbitrator choosing one of them. The law will go into effect in one year.