The Centennial State is making health insurers responsible for protecting members who try to stay in network against big, unexpected medical bills.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican, has signed S.B. 213, a bill that concerns “balance billing” at hospitals.

The new balance billing law is supposed to protect managed care plan patients who undergo treatment by in-network physicians at in-network hospitals, then receive sky-high, out-of-network bills from out-of-network radiologists, anesthesiologists and other out-of-network doctors who help with treatment.

S.B. 213 “clarifies that health insurance plans, not patients, must pay the extra charges in those situations,” the Owens administration says in a statement about the bill.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, Colo.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner David Rivera put out a statement welcoming Owens’ decision to sign the bill.

The Colorado Division of Insurance originally tried to prohibit balance billing by health care facilities, but a Colorado appeals court ruling overturned the division’s interpretation, Rivera says.

“The bill signed today will protect Colorado consumers from unexpected and often very expensive medical bills,” Rivera says.