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State Senate OKs bill to shield patients from surprise costs

June 8, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill that would shield patients from high medical costs when they require unexpected treatment from a doctor outside their insurance network.

The Providence Journal reports the bill would ensure that patients pay in-network prices for unanticipated out-of-network care. It was approved unanimously by the Senate on Thursday. A corresponding bill in the House has not yet cleared committee.

Health insurance companies typically negotiate payments with a network of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Patients can be charged more for treatment outside that network.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Sen. Stephen Archambault, says many patients are unaware of the higher cost of out-of-network care until they receive the bill. He says prices can be as much as 10 times higher than expected.

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