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News From Georgia Watch

January 23, 2017
In This Issue
Surprise Medical Bills
Guide to Medical Billing
Tax Season Underway
In the News
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The 2017 Legislative Session of the Georgia General Assembly is underway. Today is day 5 of the 40-day session and Georgia Watch is active at the Capitol looking out for Georgia consumers!

Download our 2017 Policy Priorities and keep up-to-date on all the bills we're following on our Take Action page.

Please be on the lookout for action alerts from us throughout the session as we call on you to contact your legislators to amplify consumer concerns on the issues that matter most to you.

Sincerely yours,
Liz Coyle
Executive Director
"Surprise Medical Bills" legislation introduced to protect consumers
Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford) and Representative Richard Smith (R-Columbus) introduced legislation today that would protect Georgia consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills. Georgia Watch supports this legislation and thanks them for their efforts. We encourage you to thank Senator Unterman and Representative Smith for their efforts to protect Georgia consumers.
Surprise bills can happen when:
* You are treated by an out-of-network provider in an emergency situation;
* You have a planned procedure at an in-network facility and are not informed that an out-of-network provider will be involved in your care, or
* Your lab work or ultrasound tests are sent to out-of-network lab companies.
Ways to get involved:
* Stay informed through the Georgia Watch website
* Know your rights by checking out Georgia Watch's consumer resources
* Share your surprise medical bill stories here

New resource on medical billing 

With input from partners and advocates around the state, Georgia Watch has produced the Georgia Consumer Guide for Managing Medical Bills and Debt, to be distributed online and in print in February. The guide and accompanying workshops will provide information and resources to empower consumers to answer some of the most common and complex healthcare and health insurance questions, including questions around insurance coverage, explanation of benefits statements, bill payment options, and debt collection.

Tax filing season begins today
The tax season is in full swing, but delays and risks await many taxpayers this year. According to the National Consumer Law Center, those who plan to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) should expect refund delays.   Visit our website for more information on preparing for tax season, our study on paid tax preparation services or advice on choosing a tax preparer .

In the News