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Ohio bill targets health insurers' emergency room policies

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 07:55:22-04

CINCINNATI -- Since January, health insurer Anthem has held a policy in Ohio to not cover ER visits if the diagnosis is not actually an emergency.

Now, state Rep. Alicia Reece, a Cincinnati Democrat, has introduced House Bill 536, which would outlaw Anthem's policy.

"You're saying that when I go to the (ER), I have to self-diagnose myself," Reece said. 

Anthem has the same policy in Indiana and Kentucky. WCPO previously reported on how many of Anthem's denials in Kentucky were appealed to the Kentucky Department of Insurance and how many of those were eventually reversed by Anthem or the state.

Reece said there's a lot of confusion about the policy in Ohio.

"I think it's very dangerous that the Department of Insurance is confused," she said. "The citizens are confused. The only one that understands what's going on is Anthem."

Reece is also asking for a moratorium on the policy. She has asked the governor and the attorney general to look into it.

"We see what's happening in Kentucky. We see what's happening in Missouri," Reece said. "We don't have to wait for it to happen here."

Anthem declined to comment for this story. Previously, they said they've seen an increase in the number of ER visits for non-emergency treatment.