New law to protect against surprise medical bills


By Sen. Sherrod Brown

Contributing columnist

For years we have worked to protect Ohioans from out of control surprise medical bills, and thanks to the No Surprises Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, most of those surprise bills will now be banned under federal law.

We know that health care is one of the most stressful costs families face, and millions of Americans have faced surprise medical bills.

Patients wake up from surgery, expecting to pay their standard co-pay, only to find out the anesthesiologist was out-of-network.

A doctor sends a sample out for analysis, unaware that the lab doesn’t take the patient’s insurance, and the patient is responsible for covering the cost.

In all of these cases, the patient doesn’t have the time or the information to make a choice to avoid a crippling medical bill – despite the fact that they spend their hard-earned money on health insurance to protect them in times like these.

It’s why I’ve led efforts in the Senate since 2017 to stop these surprise bills, protect Ohioans from unexpected charges, and give patients more control over their health care. And last year, we finally got it done.

Thanks to the No Surprises Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, most of those surprise bills will be banned under federal law.

The new law ensures that patients are only required to pay the in-network co-pay required by their insurance for most emergency services, even if they’re treated at an out-of-network facility or by an out-of-network provider. It will make the costs of medical care more transparent and make resources available to Ohioans so they know their rights.

It’s a critical step that will deliver real savings for Ohioans, and give people peace of mind to focus on their health and recovery – not exorbitant medical bills.

Any Ohioan – regardless of their form of health insurance – can call 1-800-985-3059 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. or visit to ask questions, report a potential violation of this law, or find additional information on what this new law means for you.

I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on ways to continue to lower costs for Ohioans, from lowering folks’ monthly premiums to addressing the cost of prescription drugs.

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