On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a draft bill targeting surprise medical bills in an effort to protect patients from unexpected and exorbitant charges. If approved, the bill will establish several measures intended to warn patients about additional costs at out-of-network facilities and prevent out-of-network health care providers from charging additional costs for emergency services.
Sponsors of the bill believe the legislation will stop medical bankruptcies, while addressing 3 specific consumer concerns:
- Treatment provided by an out-of-network physician or facility, outside of insurance network
- Treatment provided by an out-of-network doctor or other provider at a hospital covered by insurance network
- Patients stabilized after emergency care who may be subject to excessive charges if cared for at an out-of-network facility
Several Senators including Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Todd Young (R-IN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are in support of the measure and are members of a working group focused on healthcare price transparency.
“Our proposal protects patients in those emergency situations where current law does not, so that they don’t receive a surprise bill that is basically uncapped by anything but a sense of shame,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) said in his announcement about the legislation.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), 67 percent of patients worry about ‘surprise’ medical bills and healthcare costs. The survey also concluded that 58 percent of healthcare consumers are concerned about general out-of-pocket patient cost increases across the healthcare spectrum.
- Kaiser Health News: https://khn.org/news/senators-unveil-legislation-to-protect-patients-against-surprise-medical-bills/
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