New Law: Protection from Surprise Medical Bills

This column first appeared in the San Antonio Express News and other Hearst Newspapers on December 30, 2020.

Dear Mr. Premack: Is this legal? Two weeks after visiting an emergency room, I got a bill for $1800 from an out-of-state medical corporation. It was hard to tell what the bill covered, and in the fine print it gave the name of a doctor I never remember visiting. After checking, I found out this was the doctor I saw for ten minutes in the emergency room who gave me a prescription, that the doctor was not a participant in my insurance plan (even though the emergency room was a participant) and that I must pay this surprise bill out of pocket. – I.C.

It sounds like you had the presence of mind to contact your health insurance carri