The North Dakota Insurance Department has appealed a ruling from a U.S. District Court invalidating a law protecting individuals with health insurance from receiving large and unexpected balance bills to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread announced.
The appeal is in response to a federal judge’s split decision regarding a consumer protection law enacted by the state during the 2017 legislative session.
Leading up to 2017, the department had received a number of complaints from North Dakota consumers with health insurance who had received balance bills from air ambulance companies averaging more than $35,000. The resulting law was designed to protect consumers with health insurance from receiving balance bills from air ambulances, prohibit air ambulance subscription agreements from being sold and require hospitals to inform patients in non-emergency situations about which air ambulances have contractual agreements with the patient’s health insurance company.
The district court decision invalidated the portion of the law that protects North Dakotans from receiving balance bills from air ambulances.
“I will continue to fight to protect North Dakotans from the completely unfair practice of air ambulances balance billing individuals with health insurance,” Godfread said in the department’s announcement. “No one deserves to face financial ruin because of something as out of their control as an air ambulance ride.”
A final decision from the 8th Circuit is not expected for at least a year.
Source: North Dakota Insurance Department
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