On Friday, October 29th, 2021, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced an agreement with six hospitals in the state regarding their billing practices. The agreement came after an investigation by Ellison`s office found that some hospitals were overcharging patients, failing to disclose costs upfront, and using predatory collections tactics.
The hospitals involved in the agreement include Allina Health, CentraCare, Children`s Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, and HealthPartners. Under the agreement, these hospitals will make several changes to their billing practices to improve transparency and reduce costs for patients.
One of the key changes is that the hospitals will now provide patients with upfront estimates of the cost of their healthcare services. This will allow patients to make more informed decisions about their healthcare and avoid unexpected bills down the line. Additionally, the hospitals will limit the charges for out-of-network care and provide financial assistance to low-income patients.
Another important aspect of the agreement is the hospitals` commitment to ceasing predatory collections practices. This includes ending the use of wage garnishments and lawsuits against patients, which can have devastating financial consequences for vulnerable individuals.
Attorney General Ellison has described the agreement as a “step forward for healthcare affordability in Minnesota.” He hopes that other hospitals in the state will follow the lead of these six hospitals and make similar changes to their billing practices.
The agreement with these hospitals is a positive development for patients who have long struggled with the opaque and confusing billing practices of the healthcare industry. By increasing transparency and reducing costs, patients will be better equipped to manage their healthcare expenses and receive the care they need without fear of financial ruin.