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Relating to limitations on the information reported by consumer reporting agencies.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
This bill is intended to address the issue known as balance billing or surprise billing in which individuals are treated at an in-network facility by an out-of-network specialist who bills the individual for services not covered by insurance. These bills are usually unexpected and can be very expensive.
SB 1037 would prohibit consumer reporting agencies from providing a consumer report that includes information on a medical collection account if the consumer was insured at the time of the event giving rise to the collection, and the collection is for an outstanding balance, after copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, owed to an emergency care provider or a facility-based provider for an out-of-network benefit claim. Essentially this would prohibit fees associated with "balance bill" from being reported on a person's credit report.
Texas Action recommends opposing this bill because it violates the principles of limited government and free markets. Economic analysts, lenders, and businesses rely on reliable and accurate consumer information in order to gauge risk and manage declining consumer demand. Although the situation is sympathetic, this bill would result in obscuring a consumer’s creditworthiness that would be better left to a private lender to determine. Also, a potential unintended consequence of this legislation could be to enable a person to take on more debt than they can handle and consequently hurt more than help them in the long run.