A bill designed to protect Texas patients from incurring surprise out-of-network medical bills has been sent to Governor Abbott for signature. Senate Bill 1264 titled “Relating to consumer protections against certain medical and health care billing by certain out-of-network providers” would require health insurance companies to utilize alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve so-called balance billing issues with Texas doctors and other medical providers before to sending a bill for the difference to patients.
The bipartisan measure was initially introduced in the Texas Senate by Republican Senator Kelly Hancock of Fort Worth. Democratic Senator John Whitmire of Houston introduced similar legislation that was later merged with Senator Hancock’s bill. Companion legislation was separately introduced in the Texas House by Democratic Representative Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio and Republican Representative Tom Oliverson of Harris County. The final version of the legislation was overwhelmingly approved by both the Texas House (146-0) and Senate (29-2) in late May.