Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05)
December 15, 2020
Bill Would Protect Patients From Unfair Medical Bills
FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, applauded and announced his support of bipartisan legislation, The No Surprises Act, to protect patients from unfair and expensive surprise medical bills that charge them out-of-network fees without their permission.
Surprise medical bills occur when a patient gets medical care, unknowingly or unintentionally, then receives care from a medical provider outside of their insurance network. The patient is then left with the bill when the health care providers and insurance companies cannot agree on the cost of care.
“When a patient has a medical emergency, the last thing they should have to worry about is an unexpected medical bill especially during a pandemic,” Congressman Kildee said. “This bipartisan legislation will protect patients from surprise medical bills, lower health care costs, and provide increased transparency for patients, ensuring they won’t be stuck in the middle of a billing dispute.”
The No Surprises Act would end surprise bills for patients by ensuring:
- No surprise bills for emergency care: Whether a patient is taken to an out-of-network emergency room or treated at an in-network emergency room, but by a medical provider who is not covered by their insurance, they are now protected.
- No surprise bills for scheduled care: The bill forbids out-of-network health care providers from making patients foot the bill for the difference between the amount the medical provider charges and the amount that the patient’s insurance pays, known as “balance billing,” for care without notice. Providers must give the patient notice of their out-of-network insurance and an estimate of charges 72 hours before receiving out-of-network services and the patient must agree to receive out-of-network care. The bill also provides protections against surprise bills and a period of transition for patients with complex care needs if their insurance changes.
- No surprise air ambulance bills: Patients will only be required to pay the in-network amount for out-of-network air ambulances, protecting patients from tens of thousands of dollars in surprise bills when urgent medical transport is necessary.
Congressman Kildee’s top priority in Congress is lowering health care costs and preserving the Affordable Care Act. Kildee previously supported legislation in the Ways and Means Committee to end surprise medical billing, with today’s announcement representing a bicameral, bipartisan compromise on the issue. Congressman Kildee has also supported the passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would lower the cost of prescription drug by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies. He has also supported both H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019 and H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act which would help to rein in the soaring costs of prescription drugs and protect those with pre-existing conditions.