Earlier today Families USA Action sent this to the media:
We wanted to drop you a note to share Families USA Action’s perspective on the surprise medical bills interim final rule (IFR) issued by the Biden administration today – the third under the No Surprises Act, which FUSA strongly supported when Congress passed it last year. These proposals are always dense, and we’re still fully digesting, but our initial reaction is that these are very strong and if implemented as written will go a long ways toward helping lower health care costs for consumers.
The big picture way to think about this issue is that surprise medical bills have plagued consumers for decades, leaving families on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in bills they couldn’t have expected and often couldn’t pay. There’s also strong evidence that this abusive practice has contributed to higher premiums for everyone with commercial insurance – i.e. everyone who doesn’t get health care from the government.
The No Surprises Act was a landmark piece of legislation, but as is so often the case, implementation will make the difference in whether it achieves the bill’s goals of providing families with more financial security and reining in industry abuses. This IFR, in particular, is very meaningful as to whether NSA will, in fact, help reduce health care costs.
Below is a quote from Jane Sheehan
, our Director of Federal Relations. We’re happy to set up a call with her or a policy expert if you want to chat more about this particular rule or surprise medical billing more generally. We can also connect you with individuals who can share their personal experiences dealing with surprise medical bills.
“Abusive medical bills have contributed to higher health care costs for the over one hundred million Americans who have private health insurance, not just the individuals receiving outrageous bills that are designed to take advantage of them in an emergency. The No Surprises Act will critically take consumers out of industry disputes that previously saddled them with unconscionable surprise bills, but implementation of the law matters. Arbitration must be a last resort for payment disputes, with evidence showing it consistently favors providers over payers, leading to higher costs and worse choices for people seeking care. On the occasions when arbitration must occur, the amount an insurer typically charges for similar in-network services in the same area should be the primary factor in deciding cases and needs to be defined clearly by regulators from the outset. Families USA appreciates the clear message Congress sent in passing the No Surprises Act and the Biden administration’s speed in issuing these rules so no one has to have a medical emergency followed by an economic one.”