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Rules to help Texans avoid surprise hospital bills are pulled

The Dallas Morning News, August 22, 2012

Texas' top insurance regulator has rescinded new rules designed to help consumers avoid a common pitfall when they seek medical treatment—big bills for out-of-network care—a move that angers consumer advocates and doctors groups. The rules were meant to give more than 4 million Texans covered by preferred provider organization health plans, or PPOs, more information about whether they'd pay the higher out-of-network costs if they were hospitalized and seen by a specialist. But state Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman suspended most new protections against "balance billing" in December, six months before they were to take effect.