State Rep. Tom Oliverson, M.D. (R-Cypress) has filed legislation that would introduce new regulations for freestanding ERs to increase disclosure of information related to insurance coverage and to protect consumers from unexpected bills. This seeks to ensure Texans have access to the necessary information to make the best decisions regarding care for themselves and their families.
HB 2041 will improve transparency in the communication between freestanding ERs and patients. Currently, very few freestanding ERs are in-network providers; however, they tell patients that they “take” or “accept” patients’ insurance and advertise using health plan logos. HB 2041 will prohibit both of these practices.
Patients who unknowingly receive out-of-network care often must pay unexpected bills out-of-pocket. HB 2041 would require freestanding ERs to post a notice declaring the facility may be out of network with a patient’s health plan, report patient discharge data, and more prominently display disclosures required by law on their websites. Violations of the new law would become aligned with those for hospital ERs and would be subject to the deceptive trade practices act.