Health Industry Groups: Congress Must Act To Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Billing
"When doctors, hospitals or care specialists choose not to participate in networks, or if they do not meet the standards for inclusion in a network, they charge whatever rates they like," wrote the groups, which include powerful lobbyists like the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the National Business Group on Health, and the Consumers Union. "The consequence is millions of consumers receiving surprise, unexpected medical bills that can often break the bank."
Health Insurer, Employer Groups Call On Congress To End Surprise Billing
Nine groups representing health insurers, employers and consumers on Monday called for federal legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers. Surprise medical bills may arise when a patient unintentionally visits a doctor or healthcare facility that does not contract with the patient's health insurer. This sometimes occurs when patients are taken to an out-of-network emergency department during a crisis. Surprise billing is common, with 4 in 10 insured adults reporting they received a surprise medical bill in the last year, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found in September. (Livingston, 12/10)
In other news from Capitol Hill —
Brady Drops Extenders, Adds Health Care Tax Rollbacks
Meanwhile, [House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin] Brady would further delay the onset of several of the 2010 health care law's taxes that Congress has already repeatedly pushed back, namely the excise tax on medical device manufacturers, a fee applied to health insurers and the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans. Brady's revised bill would extend the medical device tax suspension for five years, through 2024; suspend the health insurer fee for two years through 2021; and delay the Cadillac tax from taking effect for one additional year, through 2022. In addition, the measure would repeal the law's tax on indoor tanning-bed services, at a relatively small cost of about $400 million over a decade. (Sword, 12/10)