Measure on health-care costs meets some resistance in N.J.

Some provisions of a measure intended to clarify for New Jersey residents whether medical care is covered in their insurance network plan are meeting with resistance.

The proposed Health Care Disclosure Act would require doctors to make three good-faith efforts to collect payment from patients for out-of-network services and keep those financial records for seven years.

Dr. Ira Monka, a family practice physician in Cedar Knolls, says that would be a hardship.

“We’re checking their health not their financial wealth,” Monka said Wednesday. “We want to take care of patients and not have to deal with paperwork that adds to the burden and cost of delivering simple family practice care.

And Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, has concerns about a provision in the bill that would require doctors to notify insurance carriers if they’re waiving deductibles for out of network coverage,

“That is a decision between the patient and the doctor,” Bramnick said. “In my judgment, the insurance company has no business to get in that relationship in New Jersey at this time. It is only a burden on the doctor and on the patient.”

The primary sponsor of the measure, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, D- Passaic, says the goal is to increase transparency about the costs of medical care.

“When you go to have an elective procedure you should have the right know whether all of the people involved in that surgery, the anesthesiologist, the pathologist, the radiologist, whether they’re in network or out of network,” Schaer said. “There are financial consequences you want to be aware of.”

But some Republican lawmakers say the provision that would require doctors to make three good faith efforts to collect payment for out-of-network services and keep those financial records for seven years could prompt more doctors to leave New Jersey.

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