As we approach the State of the Union and healthcare continues to impact federal and state legislative agendas, one topic highly related to medical debt continues to build: The push to end surprise medical bills.
We have been highlighting the issue:
- We posted our podcast with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who has introduced the “No More Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2018” to “Combat Escalating Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs, Stabilize Health Care Marketplace & End Surprise Medical Bills.”
- We all pay for surprise medical bills: According to Axios: “Surprise medical bills have received a lot of attention recently for the financial distress they cause their recipients. But they can also lead to the rest of us paying more for health care.”
- Lawmakers seek a deal on surprise medical bills. “Republicans and Democrats are inching toward agreement on one health-care issue: ending surprise medical bills,” reports Bloomberg.
- We also explained how ending surprise medical bills can be harder than it looks.
Now Healthcare Dive highlights ways that the healthcare industry is getting preparing as “more lawmakers seek to ban surprise billing,” noting that “most bills attacking the issue include bans on holding the patient responsible for certain charges and some form of arbitration process for payers and providers.”
Proposed Legislation to End Medical Surprises
The post offers examples:
- “Lawmakers in Congress late last year introduced a few notable bills aimed at ending the practice of surprise billing. A bipartisan group of six senators introduced the Protecting Patients for Surprise Medical Bills Act, to cap charges to 125% of the average amount payers in the surrounding geographic area allow for the particular service in network.”
- “Another bill, from Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., would use binding arbitration to determine the allowable charges. Her No More Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2018 would limit any patient cost-sharing responsibility to whatever they would pay for the service in network.”
- “In the House, a bill put forward by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, would require hospitals to notify patients if one of the providers treating them may be out of network and wouldn’t allow them to charge same-day ER services at above in-network prices.”
However, the the American College of Emergency Physicians “names several key factors for any surprise billing legislation it would support. It would have to prohibit balance billing, ensuring the patient had no responsibility for an out-of-network bill for emergency care; create a single point of contact for patients with ER bills; require insurers to more clearly explain beneficiary plan details and rights to emergency care; and take the patient out of payer-provider billing disputes by creating an arbitration process.”
For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.