State Senate Passes Bill To Require Clearer Hospital Billing

May 9, 2013

A new bill would affect the way patients are billed for medical care.
Credit Duke Medecine

Senate lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow patients to compare prices for medical procedures.
Senate Bill 473 would require hospitals to make the cost of common inpatient and outpatient procedures public.

Under the measure, they would be required to release that information to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would then make it publicly available. Senator Bob Rucho is a sponsor of the bill.

"And understand, this is a first step that we in North Carolina are making forward in trying to get control of the cost of healthcare, but in the long run we will receive a huge benefit from this," said Rucho.

Different hospitals in the state often charge patients strikingly different fees for the very same services.

The bill would also ban extreme forms of bill collecting including wage garnishment for patients who receive treatment at public hospitals. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the House.