Gov. Jerry Brown is approving legislation that seeks to stop surprise medical bills from doctors not covered by a patient’s health plan.

Brown said Friday he’s signed AB72 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Alameda.

Unions and patient advocacy groups say patients shouldn’t face massive bills if they visit a hospital that accepts their insurance but are treated by a doctor who doesn’t. Unexpected bills commonly come from radiologists, pathologists and anesthesiologists who get involved in diagnosing or caring for hospitalized patients.

“This is a big win for Californians who have been left with the financial scars from a battle that’s really between insurers and providers,” said Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union. “This law will ensure that consumers who make every effort to stay within their insurance network won’t be blindsided by a bill from a provider that they may not have chosen, or even met.”

The law will establish a rate for doctors to be paid in such circumstances and creates an independent review board to resolve disagreements.

Similar legislation died on the last day of the legislative session last year. It was revived after lawmakers increased the default payment for out-of-network doctors.

Gov. Brown Signs Bill Banning Surprise Medical Bills 23 September,2016Lisa Fine

State of Health Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor