House lawmakers release draft bill to end surprise medical bills: 9 things to know

Republican and Democrat representatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have released draft legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills, according to Vox.

Nine things to know:

1. Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., released the draft bill May 14.

2. The draft bill is designed to address unexpected charges patients see after they receive emergency care at an out-of-network hospital or receive nonemergency services from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.

3. Under the draft bill, a patient's cost-sharing and out-of-pocket responsibilities for out-of-network emergency care would be limited to in-network amounts, according to Vox.

4. The draft bill prohibits balance billing. This refers to situations in which a patient receives services and is billed for the difference between what the patient's insurer decides to pay and what the provider determines the care is worth.

5. The draft bill also requires insurers to pay out-of-network providers a minimum amount for the patient's care, based on the amount the insurer pays to nearby in-network providers, according to Vox. The publication notes the federal law would not supersede any state laws related to setting those payments.

6. For scheduled care, the draft bill reportedly requires that patients receive written and oral notice about the network status of their providers.

7. Commenting on the draft bill, Mr. Pallone and Mr. Walden said in a joint statement that they now "look forward to receiving constructive feedback on ways to build upon our proposal, so we can advance a bipartisan solution that protects patients from costly surprise medical bills."

8. The draft bill comes less than a week after President Donald Trump's administration called for federal legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills.  

9. The Senate has also been working on legislation to address the issue.


More articles on healthcare finance:

Nonprofit hospitals 'well-positioned to compete' amid healthcare disruption, S&P says
Ohio lawmaker proposes budget amendment to address surprise medical bills
Where healthcare stakeholders stand on surprise billing

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