Testimony In Support of S. 498, an Act Relative to Communications Between Health Insurers and Patients, before the Joint Committee on Financial Services

The Mass Medical Society wishes to be recorded in support of S. 498, “An Act Relative to Communications Between Health Insurers and Patients.” The Society is grateful to Senator Michael Brady for sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

S. 498 would create a new patient protection by prohibiting those with a potential incentive to discourage patients from seeking ongoing treatment from contacting patients without the knowledge or presence of a treating physician. The legislation applies to insurers, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) and other entities with financial responsibility for patient’s care. The intent is to make certain that if patients are contacted on their end of life choices, for example, by insurers and others with similar incentives, that treating physicians are aware of this contact prior to its taking place. This will give physicians and opportunity to respond in an informed manner to their patient’s questions regarding such communications.

The language does not apply to incentives from health care entities or parties other than those enumerated who engage patients in discussions regarding end of life care, including health care proxies, the MOLST initiative, religious counseling or other discussions outside the context of coverage for services.

The MMS encourages the Financial Services Committee to support S. 498 and to report the bill out of committee favorably. 

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