Have Your Say on Texas’ New Surprise Billing Law
By Joey Berlin

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The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is holding a public hearing next week on rulemaking for the state’s new “baseball-style arbitration” law to address surprise medical bills.

TDI’s hearing is scheduled for 9:30 am Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the William P. Hobby Building in downtown Austin. The department has proposed rules to accompany Senate Bill 1264, which the Texas Legislature passed into law this year.

If you wish to speak at the meeting, TDI requests you submit written comments or a summary of your testimony by noon Friday, Oct. 18 “to facilitate a meaningful discussion.” TDI asks that speakers limit their testimony to five minutes. The deadline for all written comments on the proposed SB 1264 rules is 5 pm Monday, Oct. 28.

SB 1264 establishes an independent arbitration process for many state-regulated, out-of-network bills, in which an arbitrator selects the “closest [payment] to the reasonable amount” between a figure the physician submits and one submitted by the health plan. The process takes patients out of the middle of surprise-billing disputes. SB 1264 takes effect for certain medical services or supplies beginning Jan. 1, 2020. It prohibits balance billing for the affected claims.

More information is available at TDI’s webpage on SB 1264, which includes comments from the Texas Medical Association and others  submitted during the informal stage of rulemaking over the summer.

TMA has not yet submitted its input on TDI’s current proposed rules.

Last Updated On

October 16, 2019

Joey Berlin

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1393
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Joey Berlin is associate editor of Texas Medicine. His previous work includes stints as a reporter and editor for various newspapers and publishing companies, and he’s covered everything from hard news to sports to workers’ compensation. Joey grew up in the Kansas City area and attended the University of Kansas. He lives in Austin.

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