OMBUDSMAN ALERT ADDRESSES ROCKLAND AARP CHAPTER ON “SURPRISE” MEDICAL BILLS

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
Ombudsman

On Wednesday, June 5, 3019, this Ombudsman addressed the Rockland AARP Chapter on the progress made over the last three years to finally eliminate all “Surprise” Medical Bills instead of forcing the affected patients to first receive the bills from the out-of-network providers and then appealing those normally higher bills pursuant to the original 2014 “Surprise Medical Bill Law”

OMBUDSMAN ALERT has been fighting since 2016 to call for an amendment to this original law which would totally eliminate this wasteful and often difficult appeal process. In my communications with our three local New York State representatives, Senator David Carlucci, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, it was only our Assemblywoman who stated that: “We would certainly consider adding an amendment to the current law to go a step further to protect vulnerable patients who receive life-saving hospital or emergency services from a out-of-network provider, assuring that the only bill generated for these services come from the patient’s in-network provider”.

Fast forward to May 9, 2019 and our President, Donald J. Trump, as discussed in my May 30, 2019 column, has proposed exactly what Assemblywoman Jaffee advocated three years ago. and has found sponsors in both the House of Representatives and US Senate to introduce such a law-this time on a federal basis!

In closing this article, I will now quote directly from our own Congresswoman, Nita Lowey, who on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, asked me to convey the following message to to the AARP members as well as to all concerned residents in her Congressional District:
“Surprise medical bills pose a significant threat to the financial health of families across the lower Hudson Valley and are particularly harmful to seniors, many of whom are on a fixed income, The House Energy and Commerce Committee is currently engaged in a bipartisan process to combat surprise billing. While legislation has not yet been introduced, I continue to follow negotiations and look forward to reviewing the bill. Congress must stop this practice to help give families financial security,”

This Ombudsman now believes that this fight started three years ago. will be won, not just for the residents of New York State, but for all residents throughout our great nation!

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