Illinois physicians sue to stop out-of-network law

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 1, 2011

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A group of Illinois physicians has filed a federal lawsuit against the state, seeking to overturn a new law that shifts the burden of certain patient costs from insurers to doctors.

The legislation, which took effect June 1, prevents some out-of-network specialists from billing insured patients for anything other than the co-pay that would apply if the doctor were in-network. According to the statute, the out-of-network physician or hospital must seek any remaining balance from the patient's insurer, despite being out-of-network, and cannot bill the patient. The law applies only to physicians practicing anesthesiology, emergency medicine, neonatology, pathology or radiology.

In their June 24 lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the doctors claim that the law infringes on their constitutional rights. The law also unfairly singles out certain specialists, while other general practice physicians are unaffected, they said. The plaintiffs are asking for an immediate injunction to stop the law.

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