Patients have the right to know what they are paying when hospitals and other health care providers deliver services. This, according to State Senator Jim Wilson, is currently not clear. Therefore, he has requested an interim study to research the health care industry's billing and collection practices.
"Bills from health care facilities usually are difficult to understand. They are confusing both in the type of service provided and in the cost of that service," said Wilson, the democratic Senator from Tahlequah. "Many times patients have little or no idea what they're paying or what other patients are being charged for the same service."
"People don't know if one provider costs more than another. They don't understand why their insurance denies payment for a service. It also appears that the uninsured are being asked to pay more than the insured - which doesn't make sense," Wilson continued.
Wilson says that the Legislature needs a better understanding of the process in order to identify solutions to these problems and frustrations. As a Legislator, he is looking forward to working with both consumers and the health care industry to address these issues.
Wilson's study will be implemented by the Senate Health and Human Resources committee. The Committee is seeking people to testify about their experiences with medical billing and collection practices.
"We invite both uninsured and insured people to talk with us," said Wilson. "We especially want to hear from folks who feel that they have had excessive billing or aggressive collection experiences."
"We need to find a way to cut through the differences in pricing among medical providers. We need parity. Patients need to understand that they're paying the same thing that their neighbors pay when they receive the same service," said Wilson.
The starting date for the study has not been determined, but will be announced after the committee has set its agenda.