Surprise Billing FAQs

Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

When 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:

Texas law also prohibits balance billing for any health care, medical service or supply provided at an in-network facility by an out-of-network physician or other provider and for services by diagnostic imaging providers and laboratory service providers provided in connection with a health care service performed by a network physician or provider.

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:

If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at (800) 633-4227 or the Texas Department of Insurance at (800) 252-3439.

Visit https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises for more information about your rights under federal law. Visit https://www.tdi.texas.gov/medical-billing/surprise-balance-billing.html for more information about your rights under Texas law.