SCHAER & SPENCER BILL TO PROTECT CONSUMERS AND BRING TRANSPERENCY, DISCLOSURE TO HEALTH CARE SYSTEM APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary S. Schaer and L. Grace Spencer to bring transparency, disclosure and quality assessments to the health care marketplace and reduce costs for consumers and businesses was approved XX-XX Monday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-3378) makes various changes to the way health care costs are administered by providing consumers with comprehensive cost and quality information before they have non-emergent medical procedures preformed.
“This legislation seeks to give New Jerseyans the information necessary to make informed and financially prudent decisions regarding their own medical care,” said Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen/Essex). “By informing health care consumers of their own financial responsibility should they choose to go out-of-network and asking physicians to disclose, in full, the patient’s financial responsibility prior to a procedure being done, we can help New Jerseyans make the right choices.”
Under the bill, doctors would make clear to patients the cost of a procedure and insurers, via a website, would provide easy access to data on provider and facility quality so consumers can easily review and make decisions about where to receive their healthcare.
“The goal of this bill is to give consumers information about the cost and quality of their health care which we hope will equip them with the information necessary to make informed decisions about their own medical care,” Schaer said.
“Assuring health care is affordable is the goal of this legislation,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “We’ve focused on making sure people can have access to health insurance. This is a sensible next step to ensure that insurance policies remain affordable.”
The bill was developed in a collaborative manner over the past year. Chairman Schaer and Vice Chair Spencer invited stakeholders from across the healthcare spectrum to hear their concerns and solutions regarding out-of-network reimbursements and their role in the ever rising cost of health care in New Jersey. Numerous meetings were held throughout 2010 to develop legislation which addresses the fundamental issues of disclosure, quality and transparency.
The bill will now be referred to the Senate.