Ohio law delayed, requires patients receive cost estimates

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio law requiring that patients be informed of costs before receiving non-emergency medical treatment has been delayed from taking effect amid a pending lawsuit.

Williams County Common Pleas Court Judge J.T. Stelzer recently issued a 30-day restraining order, the Dayton Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2iIrGHn ) , blocking the law from taking effect Jan. 1 Stelzer also scheduled a hearing for Jan. 20.

Before receiving non-emergency services, patients would have to receive written estimates from health care providers on how much their insurer would be charged for each procedure, test or service. They would also be required to know how much their insurers would cover.

Associations representing hospitals, doctors and other health care providers are among those joining the suit. Health care industry opponents of the law said it adds bureaucracy and could delay patient care.

If the insurance company “takes days and not hours to provide all of the required information, the doctor is faced with the hideous choice of delaying patient care and risking malpractice or providing that care and risk being sued for violating the law, or just not being compensated for services eventually provided,” the lawsuit states.

The provision was included in the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill last year.

State Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, who supported the change, said the health care lobby is fighting against price transparency.

“It is definitely not something that is impossible for them to carry out. They just don’t want to carry it out. That’s the problem,” he said.

Butler said in an opinion column published by the newspaper last year that state Medicaid spending must be overhauled to reduce waste and improve care. People would be encouraged to be “more cost conscious when comparing and shopping for medical services,” with price transparency, he said.

The office of Gov. John Kasich said it doesn’t discuss pending litigation.


Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com