End the surprise insurance gap

Patient Groups Join Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap

Date created

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 16:02

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Brigid Hasson                                                                                                                                March 12, 2018

media@endtheinsurancegap.org

 

Patient Groups Join Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap 

Patient and physician groups join forces to end surprise medical billing in Georgia

ATLANTA, GA (March 9, 2018) – The Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap is pleased to announce that three new patient advocate groups, the Georgia Retired Educators Association, Teachers Rallying to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices (“TRAGIC”) and the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia, have joined the campaign to end surprise medical bills in Georgia.

“Insurance companies are shifting more costs to patients and doctors, and covering less” said Brett Cannon, MD, President of Enterprise Solutions at Apollo MD, a Georgia physician and board member for Physicians for Fair Coverage. “Surprise insurance gaps require a comprehensive – not piecemeal – solution, and doctors and patients are working together to bring about a real solution.”

“Health insurance with hidden coverage gaps is neither affordable nor acceptable,” said John Palmer, a spokesperson with Teachers Rallying to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices. “TRAGIC is determined to ensure that Georgia’s state employees, retirees, and their families have the sufficient healthcare coverage they need, and we look forward to working with the Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap to protect patients from surprise medical bills.”

The Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia said the organization is supporting these efforts because they hold patients harmless for medical costs insurers should cover. “What good is insurance coverage if it abandons you in an emergency?” asked Aly Clift, Executive Director, Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia. “Insurance companies need to hold up their end of the bargain and be there when patients need care most.”

The Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia is the only health agency in Georgia dedicated to serving more than 150,000 Georgians who have epilepsy and seizure disorders statewide.  Teachers Rallying to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices (TRAGIC) counts more than 23,000 members in its ranks and advocates for a state-designed healthcare plan with affordable options that will meet the diverse needs of Georgia's state employees, retirees and their families.   With more than 28,000 members, Georgia Retired Educators is the only organization that concentrates exclusively on the needs of Georgia retired educators.

“Physicians want to provide the best possible care for their patients,” says Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) President Frank McDonald, M.D., M.B.A. “MAG applauds The Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia, TRAGIC, and the Georgia Retired Educators for supporting the effort to end the surprise insurance gap in Georgia - thereby empowering individual patients with budget certainty and peace of mind.”

Georgia patients are increasingly receiving surprise medical bills for care they thought was covered by insurance, often in emergencies, when they need their coverage the most. Coalition member groups agree that Georgia needs a comprehensive legislative solution to end the surprise insurance gap. The Coalition is working closely with legislators, and right now, the Georgia legislature is closer than ever before to passing a comprehensive solution to surprise medical bills. 

Currently, Georgia’s SB 359, which recently passed the Senate unanimously, accomplishes these goals.   SB 359 is a comprehensive solution that will take patients out of the middle, boost transparency, and end surprise billing, while ensuring long-term access to quality care. The bill incentivizes insurers to negotiate in good faith with physicians and would result in adequate healthcare networks for patients. SB 359 takes patients out of the middle by creating an appropriate and fair standard insurance companies would use to cover out-of-network, emergency services.  SB 359 guarantees this fair reimbursement schedule will be connected to an independently recognized and verified charge-based database, and not manipulated by insurers or others. SB 359 also establishes a transparent and appropriate dispute resolution process for those scenarios when an unexpected event arises during out-of-network, non-emergency care that results in a surprise bill to the patient.  When networks are adequate and out-of-network payments are fair, patients will not be surprised by medical bills their insurers refuse to pay.

About the Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap:

The Georgia Coalition to End the Surprise Insurance Gap is a growing alliance of physician and patient-focused groups in Georgia that is working to improve patient protections and enact a fair and transparent solution to surprise medical bills.  Coalition partners represent over 10,000 physicians serving millions of patients in Georgia.  Coalition members include the Medical Association of Georgia, the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians, the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia, Georgia Retired Educators, Teachers Rallying to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices, the Georgia Orthopaedic Society, the Georgia Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers, the Georgia Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Georgia Society of the American College of Surgeons, the Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, as well as national organizations, including Physicians for Fair Coverage, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the Emergency Department Practice Management Association.

Press Release File

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Press Release File

Press Release File: 
https://www.endtheinsurancegap.org/sites/default/files/20180312_ga_coalition_press_release_final_0.pdf