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'No Surprises Act' Now In Effect, Protects Patients Against Unexpected Medical Charges

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) -- The new year rings in a new law.

It's called the No Surprises Act.

It bans most unexpected medical charges from out-of-network providers.

It protects patients when they receive treatment from doctors and hospitals that are not in their insurance networks -- and that they did not choose.

Consumers will be responsible only for their in-network cost-sharing in these situations.

Patients will also not be in the middle of billing disputes between providers and insurers.

Last month, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order putting the Pennsylvania Insurance Department in charge of implementing the law in the commonwealth.

The governor calls the law a game-changer.

"This is just one more way for all of us to bring healthcare to more people," Wolf said. "Make it more accessible ... Make it better for more Pennsylvanians. Not just for some Pennsylvanians. All Pennsylvanians."

"One should never have to choose between going to the doctor or putting food on the table," Wolf added. "And often surprise medical bills (makes) forces people to make that choice. Surprise medical bills have put far too many families in that position. And the No Surprise Act makes sure that does not happen again."

According to the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, one in three Pennsylvanians receives surprise medical bills each year.

Now if you received a bill after January 1, you can contact the insurance departments to file a complaint or have any of your questions answered.

If you have questions about the No Surprises Act, go to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department's website or call 1-877-881-6388.

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