Good Done in a Lame Duck
In the December 2020, the “No Surprises Act” was signed into law.
It was intended to prevent exorbitant surprise bills by out of network medical providers.
It came into effect this January, and since then, it has blocked about a million surprise bills a month:
The No Surprises Act stopped about 2 million unexpected medical bills from hitting private insurance patients during the first two months of 2022, according to a new report.
More than 12 million potential surprise bills could be avoided this year if the trend continues, the study from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans found.
“The No Surprises Act ended the practice of surprise medical billing in most circumstances, providing relief for millions of patients who faced surprise medical bills they did not expect at prices they could not afford,” Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement.
In December 2020, the No Surprises Act was signed into law, and most of the provisions took effect at the beginning of 2022. Under the law, when anyone covered by private health insurance is treated for emergency services or at an in-network facility by an out-of-network provider, the provider or facility can’t charge a patient above the in-network cost-sharing price.
The law also sets up a way to resolve disagreements on what the health plan will pay the out-of-network provider or facility, which can lead to an independent dispute resolution.
“There is no room for surprise medical bills in a health care system that puts people first,” Kim Keck, the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said in the statement.
“As recently as last year, an emergency visit to the hospital may have left patients on the hook for steep, surprise medical bills,” she said. “The No Surprises Act has not only put an end to this loophole, but it has provided undeniable financial protection to millions of Americans.”
I’m not sure who gets the credit for this bill, it was a part of a consolidated appropriations bill and hence must-pass legislation, but someone is owed a debt of gratitude.