Measure to protect patients from surprise medical bills dies

February 5, 2019, Mississippi Today, Anna Wolfe- Deeming it too controversial for an election year, Mississippi lawmakers killed a bill that aimed to increase protections for patients against enormous out-of-pocket medical bills. An overwhelming majority of Mississippians support anti-balance billing measures, according to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted on behalf of Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. Of the 625 Mississippi voters surveyed in January, 40 percent said they or a family member had received a surprise medical bill in the past. Eight-five percent said they support laws to protect patients against these bills by requiring providers and insurers to settle billing disputes themselves.  “The problem is twofold,” Roy Mitchell, director of Mississippi Health Advocacy Program said. “Many people don’t know exactly what balance billing is. Then once they’ve been balance billed, they don’t know where to go, how to get help.”

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