Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas to hold off on Emergency Room billing rule

(KCBD) - Customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will not have to second-guess their trips to hospital emergency rooms, at least for the time being.

A rule that would have gone into effect Monday has been put off for another two months, according to a report from The Houston Chronicle. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas was intending to impose a rule that would have scrutinized the way its customers used their emergency room visits.

The rule would have done away with benefits for out-of-network emergency room uses unless an issue was deemed serious or life-threatening. This was supposed to be a way to make sure customers were going to the emergency room for serious situations, not just as a way to avoid visiting a doctor or urgent care center.

The Chronicle reported this rule was halted after the Texas Department of Insurance voiced concerns that this could make patients scared to seek medical care for serious issues. TDI sent the insurance company a two-page letter with specific questions on the programs need and implementation.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas sent an official statement via email outlining the steps for the next two months:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is pleased to work closely with TDI over the next 60 days. During this time, BCBSTX will provide any further information TDI or Commissioner Sullivan requests while continuing to educate our members on the importance of appropriately using emergency services.

This rule has also come under a lot of scrutiny itself with some health advocates around Texas saying it is unfair to customers and posses a health issue because people may not seek medical attention for some situations.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 will be monitoring this situation as updates come and post those on its website with more information.

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