Mo. lawmakers have passed a bill to stop unfair emergency room b - KMOV.com

Mo. lawmakers have passed a bill to stop unfair emergency room bills

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The Missouri statehouse in January, 2018. (Credit: KMOV) The Missouri statehouse in January, 2018. (Credit: KMOV)

The Missouri Legislature has passed a bill barring insurance companies from denying coverage to ER patients based on their final diagnosis.

The proposal, approved by the Senate Friday 33-0, was a response to a now-discarded policy by the insurance company Anthem. That policy had allowed coverage to be denied if it turned out a patient didn't need emergency treatment but their symptoms had led them to believe they did.

The measure also changes the process for how charges are negotiated between insurance companies and health care providers. That is an effort to address "surprise billing," or situations when patients visit in-network providers but are inadvertently seen by out-of-network doctors.

Proponents say this will protect patients. One lawmaker says the negotiation changes could put doctors at a disadvantage.

The bill next heads to the governor.

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