N.J. lawmaker explains benefits of simplifying language to insurers

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick says the coded information on the explanation of benefit is hard for consumers to understand. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick says the coded information on the explanation of benefit is hard for consumers to understand. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The explanation of benefits that insurance companies send to patients contain message codes that are difficult for consumers to understand, according to a New Jersey lawmaker. And he wants to see some changes.

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick said it’s irritating to get pages and pages of confusing information about why a medical bill hasn’t been paid.

“I think it can frustrate people to the point where they don’t know what to do,” he said. “Maybe they don’t provide the documents that the insurance company needs because they can’t quite figure out what they need.”

Bramnick, R-Union, wants insurance companies to give a clear explanation in plain language at the beginning of those forms.

“You didn’t meet your deductible, and your deductible is 200 bucks, but we’re going to apply this to the deductible, and now your deductible is only 50 bucks. How’s that? That would be helpful,” he suggested. “Or, we don’t cover this stuff. It’s not in your policy.”

Bramnick said he hopes to convince the companies to make it simpler — or else he’ll introduce legislation requiring that change.

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