Arizona Legislature OKs bill targeting 'surprise billing'

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

The Arizona Legislature has approved an amended measure that aims to protect patients who receive unanticipated medical bills from out-of-network providers.

Senate Bill 1441 is meant to help patients hit with "surprise billing" by assigning arbitrators to settle disputes for consumers. It would apply to patients who visit in-network facilities and get bills of $1,000 or more from out-of-network providers.

Sponsor Republican Sen. Debbie Lesko has said the measure is modeled after similar Texas legislation.

Opponents say it would likely not solve the problem and would only add more complexity to the already over-regulated health care industry in place.

The Senate's 26-4 vote Thursday sends the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey's desk because the House already approved it on a 40-19 vote Wednesday.

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