Request that Governor Abbott exercise his line-item veto on this dangerous budget provision, so that we can protect the lives and wellbeing of thousands of Texans.
DON’T MESS WITH TEXANS’ EMERGENCY BENEFITS
A rider attached to the state budget & currently in front of Governor Abbott for his signature will financially PENALIZE state employees and their families who seek emergency medical care if they go to emergency rooms that may not be in-network with ERS.
In other words, the budget provision says when an emergency happens — don’t go to the closest ER for help…go to the ER the insurance company tells you to use!
According to both state and federal law, emergency medical care is an essential health benefit, and must be provided without limitation – regardless of network status. This budget provision to penalize state employees and their families for the usage of state-licensed freestanding emergency rooms is in direct violation of a patient’s ability to exercise his or her out-of-network benefit rights.
It also will create massive confusion for patients who can’t reasonably be expected to research in-network vs. out-of-network emergency rooms in the event of an emergency. This inevitably leads to patients fearfully choosing not to seek ANY emergency care when their life is on the line. Also, by shifting more costs to ERS patients through coinsurance and copayments, ERS is financially limiting the options available to its members and reducing access to care.
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to underpay for legitimate benefit claims, and now they want to force it into Texas statute.
Not only is this budget provision illegal—it endangers the lives of thousands of state employees and their families across Texas by limiting their options for care in the event of a medical emergency.