The Biden administration on Thursday put final touches on consumer protections against so-called “surprise” medical bills (Source: “Ban on ‘surprise’ medical bills on track for Jan. 1 rollout,” Associated Press, Sept. 30).
The ban on unexpected charges to insured patients is on track to take effect Jan. 1, officials said.
Patients will no longer have to worry about getting a huge bill following a medical crisis if the closest hospital emergency room happened to have been outside their insurance plan’s provider network. They’ll also be protected from unexpected charges if an out-of-network clinician takes part in a surgery or procedure conducted at an in-network hospital. In such situations, patients will be liable only for their in-network cost-sharing amount.
The rules released Thursday spelled out for the first time a key part of the new system: a behind-the-scenes dispute resolution process that hospitals, doctors and insurers will use to haggle over fees, without dragging patients into it.