Assembly passes measure to protect consumers from costly out-of-network doctor bills

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A measure that would protect Californians from so-called "surprise" doctor bills cleared the Assembly floor on a 69-1 vote Tuesday.

AB 533, authored by Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), targets situations in which consumers get care at a facility that's in their insurance network, but also receive services from a provider who is not in their network. 

Bonta's legislation would,  in such circumstances, limit the amount a patient can be charged by an out-of-network  doctor to no more than the amount the patient would have paid had the physician been in network. 

Nearly one in four privately insured Californians receive this type of unexpected medical bill, according to a Consumers Union survey published last month. 

The legislation now moves on to the state Senate.