Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

Starting January 1, 2022. you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)?

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network. 
“Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan. Out-of-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan agreed to pay and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit. 

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider.

You are protected from balance billing for:

Emergency services :
If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments and coinsurance). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services. 

Patients with HMO or insurance coverage subject to state law (these are plans not provided pursuant to union health benefits) have protections from balance billing under state law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other surrounding states. If you believe state law applies to your situation, please contact state officials. 

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed. 

If you get other services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections. 

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have the following protections:

  • You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). 
  • Your health plan will pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly. 
  • Your health plan generally must: 
  • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (prior authorization). 
  • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers. 
  • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits. 
  • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your deductible and out-of-pocket limit.

If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact federal regulators below:

Provider Directory

Providers and facilities are required to verify and update their provider directories every 90 days to ensure that participants have the most accurate in-network provider information available when making healthcare decisions. Participants have the right to request information on whether a provider has a contractual relationship with the insurance plan and to receive such information with one business day. Please inform your Local 338 benefits representative if you have updated information on a provider so that we may follow up. 

To find a MagnaCare in-network provider, please visit:

Machine Readable File

Machine-Readable Files with Pricing Information: This link leads to machine-readable files that the federal Transparency in Coverage Rule requires group health plans and issuers make available with detailed pricing information. These files include data on in-network negotiated payment rates and historical out-of-network allowed amounts. They are provided in JSON format and is large in size. 

Click here to download the in-network machine readable file | Click here to download the out-of-network machine readable file