January 31, 2019

Senator Hassan to Host Donna Beckman, Who Faced a Surprise Medical Bill, as Her State of the Union Guest

Donna Beckman of Seabrook Received a Surprise Medical Bill for $1,648 After a Trip to an Emergency Room In Her Insurance Network

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan announced today that she will host Donna Beckman of Seabrook as her guest of honor for President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th. Donna received a surprise medical bill for $1,648 following a visit to an emergency room that was in her insurance network. She was only later told that a doctor she saw — for about 5 minutes — was actually out-of-network. Senator Hassan is leading efforts in Congress to address surprise medical bills, which pose a financial burden on Granite Staters like Donna and people across the country who receive massive, unexpected medical bills, often for receiving care that they didn’t realize was considered out-of-network.

As Senator Hassan’s guest, Donna will join the Senator in the House Chamber for the State of the Union Address. Senator Hassan and Donna met last year when the Senator sat down in Manchester with a group of Granite Staters who have been impacted by surprise medical bills.

“It is unacceptable that hard-working people like Donna are faced with massive, unexpected medical bills for care that they thought was covered in their insurance network,” Senator Hassan said. “I thank Donna for sharing her story and helping to bring attention to this issue that is burdening far too many people in New Hampshire and across the country. Members of both parties – including President Trump – have expressed a desire to address this issue, and I’m optimistic that we can make progress to end this absurd practice in the year ahead.”

“I am honored to be Senator Hassan’s guest for the President’s State of the Union Address and to shed light on outrageous surprise medical bills like the one I received,” Donna Beckman said. “It’s completely unfair for people to receive these massive bills for getting care that is understood to be in-network, and in my case, for care that was incredibly routine. I appreciate Senator Hassan’s leadership in the fight to get rid of surprise medical bills, and I’ll keep speaking out to help prevent other Granite Staters from going through what I’ve been through for what I thought would be a simple visit to the emergency room.”

Senator Hassan has been a leader in efforts to address surprise medical bills and is working with members from both parties to reach a solution. Senator Hassan’s approach would protect patients with medical emergencies from surprise billing by prohibiting hospitals and providers from charging more than the in-network amount. Her plan would also protect patients in non-emergency situations from surprise bills by requiring hospitals and providers to notify patients if services will be out-of-network and get their consent. Without proper notification and consent, a provider can only charge a patient the in-network amount. If payment disputes arise when these rules aren't followed, an independent entity would resolve disputes between providers and health insurance plans, without putting patients in the middle. This dispute resolution system is based on a "baseball-style" or “final offer” model, where the provider and insurance plan submit their best and final offer, and the independent entity must choose one of the offers. This model helps incentivize providers and plans to come to a reasonable amount.

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