STATEHOUSE -- Two proposals to make sure you know what your hospital visit will cost you should come up for discussion this week at the statehouse.
The House and Senate have each unanimously approved bills to ban "surprise billing," where a specialist who's part of your care turns out to be outside your insurance network. But they're still ironing out differences in whether that ban should be absolute, or could include exceptions for procedures which take place offsite.
House and Senate Republicans also want to create a state database of what different providers charge for different procedures. Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray says giving patients the ability to comparison-shop is the first step toward lowering costs. The Senate passed its database bill 47-3, but the House version was killed by a fight over a Democratic prescription-drug amendment which Republican leaders considered a deal-breaker.
Both chambers face a Thursday deadline to get bills through committee. Neither the database bill nor the surprise billing proposals have been scheduled for hearings yet. House Speaker Brian Bosma says the House and Senate trying to iron out an agreement now so they can avoid a conference committee under deadline pressure in the final days of the session. He says he expects hearings next week.
The legislature must adjourn by March 14, but Bosma and Bray say they plan to wrap up three days early, in part so legislators aren't scrambling for hotel rooms as the Big Ten basketball tournament begins in Indianapolis.