State Senators Pass Bill To Stop Surprise Medical Billing in Tennessee

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

The Tennessee State Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would stop insurance providers from sending unexpected medical bills to patients in Tennessee.

Senate Bill 0001, sponsored by Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and cosponsored by Senators Crowe, Swann, Gardenhire, Powers, Haile, Jackson, Pody, Reeves, Rose and Walley, was passed by the Senate on January 27.  According to the Senate Republican Caucus, the legislation will put a stop to “balanced billing.”

“Balanced billing occurs when providers bill a patient for the difference between the amount they charge and the amount that the patient’s insurance covers,” the statement says. “The amount that insurers pay providers is almost always less than the providers’ ‘retail price.’ Some providers will bill the patient for the difference or balance, thus it’s called balanced billing.”

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Under the new bill, patients will no longer be responsible for those balanced bills, and providers will not be able to hunt them down to cover charges related to emergency services. Bills will also not be sent if a patient receives non-emergency care from a hospital that is “in-network” but then is treated by a doctor or laboratory that is not within their network without their knowledge.


“Under this bill, patients will pay only the deductibles and co-payment amounts that they would under the in-network terms of their insurance plans,” according to the release. “The bill also creates an independent dispute resolution process between insurers and providers.”

The bill was meant to be a replica of the federal “No Surprises Act” that went into effect in 2020. 

After the bill passed the Senate, Crowe issued the following statement:

“As Chair of our Senate Health and Welfare Committee, I know that one of the problems Tennesseans worry about the most, especially from a patient perspective, is the problem of being able to afford an unexpected medical bill. Sen. Watson and myself have been working on this surprise billing legislation for the past 6 years. I am very proud of this piece of legislation as it fundamentally protects patients from getting a bill for which they didn’t know they’d be responsible. I also want to thank Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Phil Roe for their working making this happen on a federal level.”

The bill has been transmitted to the Tennessee House of Representatives and as of the publication of this article is being held on the House desk.

The companion House Bill (HB0002) is sponsored by Representative Robin Smith (R-Hixson) and co-sponsored by Representatives Hawk, White, Terry, Helton, Moon, Baum and Rudd.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

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