Texas Enacts Health Care Measures Impacting Credit Reporting and “Surprise” Medical Billing

An active Texas legislature recently enacted new laws regarding medical billing and credit reporting for out-of-network health care debts.

7/31/2019 10:00 AM

NewsStateAdvocacy
Texas Enacts Health Care Measures Impacting Credit Reporting and “Surprise” Medical Billing

The state of Texas recently enacted new health care measures related to medical billing and credit reporting of out-of-network care. While neither of the bills are specifically targeted at collection agencies, there are some implications regarding the billing of consumers for out-of-network care as well as the reporting of debts related to out-of-network care.

Senate Bill 1037 prohibits a consumer reporting agency from furnishing consumer report information related to “a collection account with a medical industry code, if the consumer was covered by a health benefit plan at the time of the event giving rise to the collection and the collection is for an outstanding balance, after copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, owed to an emergency care provider or a facility-based provider for an out-of-network benefit claim. . .”

Although the bill does not technically prohibit a data furnisher from reporting debts arising from out-of-network care, debt collectors may nevertheless want to consider refraining from reporting such debts in order to avoid claims by devious consumer attorneys that even furnishing such information to a CRA violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or state law.

Senate Bill 1037 is effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1246 prohibits a non-network physician, provider “or a person asserting a claim as an agent” from billing a patient covered out of network and receiving emergency care in any amount greater than the patient's responsibility under the patient's health care plan, including applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. The new law also requires a health maintenance organization to provide written notice of billing prohibitions in each explanation of benefits provided to an enrollee or physician or provider in connection with a health care service that is subject to the prohibitions. Notably, the bill allows the attorney general to bring a civil action against any individual or entity believed to be violating a law prohibiting balance billing. Senate Bill 1246 takes effect on Sept. 1, 2019.

Other Debt Collection Measures

ACA International members should also be aware that Texas recently enacted House Bill 996, which requires certain notices to be provided when collecting debts that are beyond the applicable state statute of limitations. House Bill 996 takes effect on Sept. 1, 2019. For more information on those requirements, members can review ACA SearchPoint #1119, Statute of Limitations: Collecting Out-of-Statute Debts.

ACA recommends members review these measures with clients and their own legal counsel to determine if any changes are required to current billing or credit reporting practices.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Texas Enacts Health Care Measures Impacting Credit Reporting and “Surprise” Medical Billing

The state of Texas recently enacted new health care measures related to medical billing and credit reporting of out-of-network care. While neither of the bills are specifically targeted at collection agencies, there are some implications regarding the billing of consumers for out-of-network care as well as the reporting of debts related to out-of-network care.

Senate Bill 1037 prohibits a consumer reporting agency from furnishing consumer report information related to “a collection account with a medical industry code, if the consumer was covered by a health benefit plan at the time of the event giving rise to the collection and the collection is for an outstanding balance, after copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, owed to an emergency care provider or a facility-based provider for an out-of-network benefit claim. . .”

Although the bill does not technically prohibit a data furnisher from reporting debts arising from out-of-network care, debt collectors may nevertheless want to consider refraining from reporting such debts in order to avoid claims by devious consumer attorneys that even furnishing such information to a CRA violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or state law.

Senate Bill 1037 is effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1246 prohibits a non-network physician, provider “or a person asserting a claim as an agent” from billing a patient covered out of network and receiving emergency care in any amount greater than the patient's responsibility under the patient's health care plan, including applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. The new law also requires a health maintenance organization to provide written notice of billing prohibitions in each explanation of benefits provided to an enrollee or physician or provider in connection with a health care service that is subject to the prohibitions. Notably, the bill allows the attorney general to bring a civil action against any individual or entity believed to be violating a law prohibiting balance billing. Senate Bill 1246 takes effect on Sept. 1, 2019.

Other Debt Collection Measures

ACA International members should also be aware that Texas recently enacted House Bill 996, which requires certain notices to be provided when collecting debts that are beyond the applicable state statute of limitations. House Bill 996 takes effect on Sept. 1, 2019. For more information on those requirements, members can review ACA SearchPoint #1119, Statute of Limitations: Collecting Out-of-Statute Debts.

ACA recommends members review these measures with clients and their own legal counsel to determine if any changes are required to current billing or credit reporting practices.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Loading...

Loading...

Scroll to Top