A comprehensive permanent fix to end surprise medical billing will be most effectively achieved through legislation, according to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services .
A new report by HHS Secretary Alex Azar is calling for congressional action to combat surprise billing and to promote price transparency.
The report, “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First,” outlines steps, including congressional action, to implement principles on surprise billing that were called for in President Trump’s Executive Order in 2019.
These include the principles that patients receiving emergency care should not be forced to shoulder extra costs billed by a care provider that are not covered by their insurer; that patients receiving scheduled care should have information about whether providers are in or out of their network and what costs they may face; patients should not receive surprise bills from out-of-network providers they did not choose; and that federal healthcare expenditures should not increase.
Surprise billing occurs when a patient sees an out-of-network provider during an emergency, or in a non-emergency case in which a patient sees an in-network provider but gets care from an out-of-network provider, such as an anesthesiologist.
When a patient receives out-of-network […]
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