End the surprise insurance gap

Physicians for Fair Coverage President and CEO, Coalition Partner Testify Before the Georgia Insurance and Labor Committee on Surprise Billing Legislation

Date created

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 00:00

(Atlanta, GA) – Today, Michele Kimball, president and CEO of Physicians for Fair Coverage (PFC), and Dr. Shamie Das, MD, board member of the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians (GCEP) and the Medical Association of Atlanta (MAA), testified before the Georgia General Assembly, Senate Committee on Insurance and Labor, during a hearing on the Consumer Coverage and Protection for Out-of Network Medical Care Act (SB 56).

Click here to read Kimball and Das’ full testimony as prepared for delivery

Addressing the committee, Kimball cited statistics highlighting insurers’ increasingly restrictive networks, the growth of high deductible insurance policies and the severe reduction in coverage for out-of-network care as leading factors contributing to the surprise insurance gap that leaves patients in Georgia vulnerable to surprise bills. “I was pleased to have the opportunity to stand up for patients and families in Georgia today,” said Kimball. “Surprise medical bills are a threat to the integrity of our health care system across the country, but particularly here in Georgia, where nearly two-thirds of the state’s counties are below the statewide average for the number of medical providers per capita and dozens of rural hospitals face acute funding shortfalls. I would like to thank Senator Chuck Hufstetler for his leadership in advancing this bill to protect and prioritize what is best for Georgians.” 

Dr. Das, drawing on his experience as an emergency physician, discussed doctors’ commitment to treat every patient that enters an emergency room and insurance companies’ willingness exploit that commitment to turn a profit. “As an emergency physician, I would also like to highlight that the surprise insurance gap is even more problematic in emergency medicine than in non-emergency situations,” said Das during his committee testimony. “The insurance company shell game is so opaque that even the savviest of patients have trouble navigating the rules. Many patients do the necessary research to ensure they have identified a hospital in their insurance network in case of an emergency. However, the insurance companies – through grossly inadequate and inaccurate provider networks – make it extremely difficult for patients to navigate this process.”

Dr. Das is a practicing emergency medicine physician based at an academic medical center in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to full-time clinical practice, he spends his free time advocating for patients and organized medicine. He serves on the boards of the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians and the Medical Association of Atlanta, and will soon complete a fellowship in the Georgia Physicians' Leadership Academy conducted by the Medical Association of Georgia.
                                         
More About Physicians for Fair Coverage

Physicians for Fair Coverage (PFC) is a non-profit, non-partisan multi-specialty alliance of physician organizations dedicated to improving patient protections and ending the surprise insurance gap. PFC created the End the Surprise Insurance Gap campaign to advocate on behalf of patients and the physicians who care for them. The goal of the campaign is to advance legislation that protects patients from unexpected costs associated with unanticipated out-of-network care, establishes fair reimbursement standards to preserve needed access, and creates greater network and pricing transparency.
 
PFC is comprised of tens of thousands of physicians in a variety of specialties serving communities in all 50 states. Its partners include the National Patient Advocate Foundation, the Emergency Department Practice Management Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Society of Anesthesiology, the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Association of Emergency Medicine, the Society of Hospital Medicine, multiple state medical societies, and dozens of other state physician and patient organizations.