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California governor signs ban on surprise medical bills

Rich Pedroncelli/AP File Photo Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, left, receives congratulations from Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, after the Assembly approved his measure to end surprise medical bills from out-of network doctors, on the final day of the legislative session in Sacramento in late August.


SACRAMENTO — 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.

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.


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