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California Bill Would Let Patients See Out-Of-Network Providers

Health insurance plans have networks of doctors and hospitals that policyholders must use. If a patient wants to see an out-of-network provider, they face higher out-of-pocket costs.

But a pending bill in the California Senatewould require insurers to offer timely access to care. If that wasn’t possible, patients could see a non-network provider without having to pay more.

Deborah Burger, president of the California Nurses Association, said right now health plans aren’t giving consumers a fair shake.


“They’re pretending that they’re giving enough choice and access, but in reality, when you look at what’s available, there’s significant delays in care, there’s significant denial of care,” Burger said.

Insurers say the bill would undermine their ability to control costs.

The California Assembly approved the measure late last week.