ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care costs are a leading cause of bankruptcies in New York State, and "surprise" bills from out-of-network providers can prove devastating. The all-too-common practice may face some challenges if Governor Andrew Cuomo gets his way, and today, AARP backed the Governor's plan.
"Too often, New York patients are billed for services outside of their network that they didn't choose or know they would be receiving, particularly in emergency situations. For older patients, the unexpected bills can break their delicate kitchen table economies," said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State. "AARP commends the Governor for his leadership in tackling this crucial health care issue and moving to protect New Yorkers from surprise medical bills that could break the bank."
The Governor's budget proposal:
- Takes steps to prevent surprise medical bills by improving transparency through health plan disclosure requirements regarding in-network providers and the financial coverage for out-of-network claims.
- Require all health insurance products to meet a set of provider network adequacy standards so that fewer New Yorkers will need to see an out-of-network provider.
If enacted, this legislation will ensure consumers recovering from health care procedures will no longer be forced to join the fight in disputes over coverage. Out-of-network providers and insurers will be responsible for negotiating an appropriate fee.
"This legislation is much needed in New York. We thank the Governor for proposing it and we strongly believe the Legislature should support it and make it a part of a final state Budget," added Finkel.
The measure will expand consumer choice and give older New Yorkers more control over their health care decisions. Consumers will be able to seek out-of-network services if their health plan's network does not have a qualified specialist that meets their specific medical needs. AARP says that in certain instances, this specialized care will be life-saving for the consumer.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.
SOURCE AARP New York