Financial watchdog wants Oregonians to know about new law against surprise medical bills

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation wants Oregonians to know that starting Jan. 1, they will be more protected against surprise medical bills.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation wants Oregon residents to know that starting January 1, they will be better protected against surprise medical bills.

These bills usually arrive after a person has received care at a network facility, but an off-network provider has been involved in the care and has charged off-network prices.

Under the No Surprises Act, a provider cannot charge more than network insurance for emergency services, even if they are off-grid.

Mark Peterson, of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, said there was another aspect of the new law that Oregonians should be aware of.

“Health care providers should provide a good faith estimate for services to anyone who is uninsured or who pays for themselves without insurance,” Peterson said.

Consumers facing surprise bills should first contact their insurance company and, if the issue is not handled properly, file a complaint online with the US Department of Health and Human Services or by calling 800. -985-3059.

“Make sure you watch your medical bills when you receive them,” Peterson said.

The No Surprises law includes the following protections:

  • Health plans and their institutions / providers should send you notice of your rights under the law.
  • Insurance companies must keep their supplier directories up to date. They should limit co-payments, coinsurance, or deductibles to network amounts if you are relying on inaccurate information in a supplier directory.
  • Health care providers should provide a good faith estimate for services to anyone who is uninsured or who pays for themselves without insurance.

The law applies to most health insurance plans, but Medicare and Medicaid have their own protections.

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is hosting a No Surprises Act webinar on Wednesday, Jan.5 from noon to 1 p.m. Staff from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be on hand to answer questions.


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