Who doesn’t like a surprise? But not a surprise ER bill.

The good news? As of March 18, Maine consumers are protected from surprise emergency medical bills!

In an amazingly quick response to the desperate issue, on Feb. 13, L.D. 2105, An Act To Protect Consumers from Surprise Emergency Medical Bills, was presented in the Maine Legislature, sponsored by Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and co-sponsored by Rep. Allison Hepler, D-Woolwich, and eight other legislators. The legislation passed and was signed by Gov. Mills on March 18.

It’s disappointing that every American consumer is not protected through federal law from surprise billing, but Mainers need to know that we are, because Maine lawmakers understood the needs of Maine families and acted quickly.

This legislation has particular significance for me.

In March 2019 I checked into the ER for chest pain. After numerous tests and an overnight, all was well. Well, except for the $1,100 surprise bill. After repeated calls, United refused to pay. It was out of the network, and they didn’t have to.

How? Maine had a law against surprise billing – but it didn’t cover emergency services! I guess I was supposed to ask each provider if they were in my network. And what to do if they said no?

I knew legislation was pending in Congress, but I also knew Maine families couldn’t wait for federal action. I contacted Rep. Hepler, who understood the issue immediately and submitted legislation.

Thank you, Rep. Hepler, for listening to me and so many other families who needed protection from surprise billing!

Marge Kilkelly
former Democratic state senator

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