June 10, 2019

TV ad exposes threat of exorbitant surprise emergency hospital bills; coalition fights for patient protection

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
health care
Caption: A screenshot of the coalition's new television ad. Photo provided.

A coalition of consumer, labor, health and business groups launched a television ad campaign demanding Albany pass legislation to protect patients from exorbitant surprise emergency hospital bills.

The Patient Protection Coalition created the ad, “Protect,” to expose the financial threat consumers can face when hit with excessive out-of-network emergency hospital charges.

The spot highlights the average out-of-network charges consumers in the New York metro area can face: an eye-popping $220,000 for a broken leg; $150,000 for a heart attack.

Patients end up bearing these costs, either in higher insurance rates, diminished benefits, or direct out-of-pocket expenses.

Consumer Reports, the United Federation of Teachers, the New York State Business Council, the New York State United Teachers and the CSEA are among more than 40 organizations urging Albany to pass this common sense consumer protection legislation.

If passed, the bill allows an independent arbitrator to review excessive emergency hospital charges, a process New York State already successfully uses with emergency room doctor bills.

The legislation (S.3171-A / A.264-B) will defend patients from abusive hospital fees and help end surprise bills for patients who wind up in out-of-network hospital emergency rooms.

The spot, “Protect,” began airing June 8 in Albany, Westchester and Long Island on traditional broadcast and cable. The cable run includes CNN, MSNBC, News12 and the Food Network.

Coalition partners will also share the ad, and a 15-second cut “Patient,” on their own social media platforms.

The ad was produced by Andi Johnson, partner in the television division of GPS Impact.