For Immediate Release
MADIGAN: HOUSE PASSES NEW LEGISLATION TO PROTECT PATIENTS FROM AGGRESSIVE BILLING PROCEDURES
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the House unanimously passed the bipartisan Fair Patient Billing Act that establishes standards and responsible practices that all licensed hospitals, and the collection agencies they hire, must follow when they bill and collect debts from patients. State Rep. Karen May sponsored the legislation in the House and State Sen. Kwame Raoul is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.
As amended, HB 4999 is supported by the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA) and provides:
The legislation also includes protections for uninsured patients before collection:
For insured patients:
Finally, HB 4999 requires that hospitals must ensure that any external collection agency, law firm or individual engaged by the hospital in collecting on outstanding bills shall agree in writing to comply with the collection provisions of the Act.
“This bipartisan legislation is critical in protecting patients from overaggressive billing practices,” Madigan said. “These new standards will ensure that hospitals are held accountable if the companies they hire become abusive. With today’s skyrocketing medical costs, the payment of medical bills affects all of us.”
The House Health Care Availability Committee, chaired by State Rep. Mary Flowers, with Minority Spokesman State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, approved HB 4999 yesterday in a bipartisan vote.
“I became interested in the bill because of the high number of bankruptcies caused by medical debt. I salute the Office of the Attorney General’s staff for being flexible in working with the hospitals and the hospital association to craft a bill that is fair to patients, but not unfair to hospitals,” May said.
“No longer will families be harassed about medical bills, fear loss of their jobs, foreclosures on mortgages or harassing calls just because of being sick,” Flowers said.
“I commend Attorney General Madigan and the Illinois Hospital
Association for working out a solution to billing problems that have arisen,”