The governor of Texas has signed a bill into law that will require hospitals and health care facilities send patients a written, understandable itemized invoice prior to placing the account with a debt collector. The law is scheduled to go into effect on September 1.
A copy of SB 490 can be accessed by clicking here.
Earlier versions of the bill included doctors and federally qualified health care centers, but those types of facilities were excluded from the final version of the bill. The law defines health care providers as facilities that are licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized to provide health care services or supplies in the state in the ordinary course of business, including a hospital, except the term does not include federally-qualified health centers. Health care service is defined as a service a health care provider provides to an individual to diagnose, prevent, treat, alleviate, cure, or heal a human health condition, illness, injury, or disease.
The itemized bill that patients need to receive must include:
- A plain language description of each distinct health care service or supply the health care provider provided to the patient
- If the provider sought or is seeking reimbursement from a third party, any billing code submitted to the third party and the amounts billed to and paid by that third party; and
- The amount the provider alleges is due from the patient for each service and supply provided to the patient
The bills may be mailed to the patient or provided electronically through the provider’s patient portal.
Rep. Caroline Harris and Sen. Bryan Hughes, both Republicans, worked to pass the legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.