New Jersey Senate Bill 1177, which amends the arbitration procedures required under the Out-of-Network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment, and Accountability Act, has been signed into law.

The New Jersey Surprise Bill Act enacted in June 2018 sought to enhance consumer protections for New Jersey residents by providing greater transparency and disclosure by health insurance carriers for patients receiving inadvertent, out-of-network emergency care. The law created an arbitration system to resolve out-of-network payment disputes and sought to protect consumers from certain surprise out-of-network bills.

One of the main objectives of the original bill was to protect New Jersey residents from what is called “balance billing” for inadvertent, out-of-network emergency care. Balance billing is when a health-care provider bills a covered person for the difference between the provider’s charge and the amount the carrier allows for that charge.

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