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California's surprise billing law doesn't favor insurers, studies suggest — 4 insights

While California's surprise billing law has protected patients from unexpected out-of-network expenses, physicians argue the bill has given insurers an unfair advantage in their negotiations with physicians, California Healthline reports.

What you should know:

1. Physicians argue the laws constrain what insurers have to pay, which gives insurers an unfair advantage in negotiations. Nearly 90 percent of physicians responding to a California Medical Association survey claimed the law shrunk networks and limited patients' access to in-network physicians.

2. Patient complaints that access to care was more constrained rose 48 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to data from the California Department of Managed Care.

3. However, researchers have found evidence the law is working as intended. A study by USC-Brookings researchers found that out-of-network care delivery declined 17 percent after the law took effect.

4. Similarly, a survey by industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans noted in-network numbers either grew or remained flat across specialties.

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