Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville, has introduced legislation intended to prevent consumers from receiving surprise medical bills.

Unexpected medical bills generally occur when patients are treated by out-of-network health care providers at a facility in their insurance network, usually during emergency medical situations.

“During a medical emergency, the last thing families should be worried about is whether or not their health care will be covered by their insurance,” Kolste said in a news release.

In many cases, patients don’t realize the provider is not in their network until they receive the bill, the release states.

The bill will require providers to inform patients they are outside their insurance network and offer good-faith estimates on the cost of services patients might need. It also will limit the amount out-of-network providers receive to what patients would pay in-network for emergency medical situations, according to the release.

“This legislation will ensure that Wisconsinites are not in the dark when it comes to the pricing of their health care,” Kolste said in the release. “You should not be surprised with a crippling medical bill, especially when you are receiving care at a clinic or hospital that you know is part of your insurance network.”

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