For Consumers

Health insurer responsibilities under the Balance Billing Protection Act

Surprise billing news

A provider or facility that treats an out-of-network patient for emergency services or an in-network patient for scheduled services will submit a claim to the enrollee's health plan.

Until July 1, 2023, or a later date set by the commissioner, the amount the health insurer pays the facility or provider must be a “commercially reasonable amount” based on the same services in a similar geographic area. If the health plan and the facility or provider cannot agree on the amount, either party can start the arbitration process. The state will move to the federal dispute resolution process set by the federal No Surprises Act after Jan. 1, 2024. After that date or at a date set by the insurance commissioner, any dispute must follow the process outlined in the federal No Surprises Act 

The law also requires health insurers to have a way to inform a provider or facility if its enrollees are subject to the Balance Billing Protection Act. This process can take place when determining an enrollee's coverage eligibility. 

How arbitration works

If the insurer and provider or facility cannot agree on a price for the service, either party can start arbitration. The law requires that health insurers provide OneHealthPort with the email address and phone number of the insurer's designated contact to receive notices to start arbitration. Send the information to:

Each party pays their own attorney fees, and they split the cost of arbitration. The arbitrator will choose the best final offer from one party. 

Parties will have access to a data set from the All Payer Claims Database that:

  • Is based on commercial fee-for-service health insurance claims.
  • Includes median in-network, out-of-network and billed charges for services covered under the Act. 

See a list of approved arbitrators.

What information insurers must share with enrollees 

Insurers must post the notice of consumers’ surprise billing rights on their website and update their online provider directory within 30 days when a provider is added or terminated. Also, they must give enrollees: 

  • A clear description of the health plan's out-of-network benefits.
  • If asked, an estimated range of out-of-pocket costs for an out-of-network service.
  • What an enrollee's financial responsibility is if they get out-of-network services other than those protected from balance billing.

See the notice for consumers about their rights (PDF, 114KB) under the Balance Billing Protection Act.