Trump's Medicare executive order could result in surprise medical bills

A Medicare executive order signed by President Donald Trump may leave beneficiaries vulnerable to surprise medical bills, according to Kaiser Health News.

The executive order, signed Oct. 3, aims to bolster private Medicare plans for seniors.

Under current Medicare rules, many seniors don't experience surprise medical bills due to limits on such charges. 

But critics of the administration's plan told KHN some Medicare beneficiaries could be stuck with surprise medical bills if the 9.25 percent cap on the amount physicians can balance-bill certain beneficiaries is lifted. The new rules also may make it easier for physicians to opt out of Medicare and give patients and physicians the ability to contract outside of the program, according to the report.

As a result, “it [potentially] opens the door to surprise medical billing if people sign a contract with a doctor without realizing what they're doing," Timothy Jost,  professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia, told KHN.

But supporters of Mr. Trump's plan told the news service that more private contracts between patients and physicians would lead to more physicians accepting more Medicare patients, partly to receive higher reimbursement.

Read the full KHN report here


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