BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — House Bill 1416 is offering a way for people in our state to have freedom of choice when it comes to health care.

The new bill states that a health insurer, including the Medicaid program, may not obstruct patient choice by excluding a health care provider licensed under the laws of North Dakota from participating on the health insurer’s panel of providers.

However, in order to gain the benefits of the bill, the provider must be located within the geographic coverage area of the health benefit plan and must be willing and fully qualified to meet the terms and conditions of participation of the health insurer.

Those who oppose this bill say some participants may receive unexpected bills from their health care providers.

“House Bill 1416 that would essentially erode the ability of health plans such as Sanford’s, from offering those affordable health insurance options in North Dakota,” explains Sanford Health’s Head of Government Affairs Dylan Wheeler. “It would inhibit our ability to innovate, create, and deliver affordable health insurance options.”

The hearing for the bill will take place on Monday at 10 a.m.