Ban on Surprise Medical Bills
President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, into law on December 27, 2020. It includes a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that provides funding for:
– Unemployment benefits
– Direct economic payments to individuals
– Vaccine distribution
– Rental assistance
– No Surprises Act, beginning in 2022.
Surprise Medical Bills
What is a surprise medical bill? Surprise medical bills happen when patients unexpectedly receive care from out-of-network providers. For example, a patient may go to an in-network hospital for treatment, such as surgery or emergency care, but an out-of-network doctor may be tending to the patient.
Patients often cannot determine the network status of these providers during treatment to avoid the additional charges. In many cases, the patient is not involved in the decision of the provider at all.
No Surprises Act
The No Surprises Act pertains to surprise bills from doctors, hospitals, and air ambulances. It will prevent these providers from billing patients who have health coverage for unpaid balances. Instead, providers will have to work with the group health plan or health issuer to determine the appropriate amount to be paid by the plan or issuer, under the methodology provided in the Act.
The various Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury departments will work together to issue regulations regarding this methodology and other Act requirements.