No Surprises Act implementation may slow premium growth 

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Implementing the No Surprises Act, the federal government's attempt to cut down on surprise billing practices, could slow the growth of healthcare premiums.

Policy experts said the Jan. 1 implementation will "put a thumb on the scale" that will discourage settlements, according to an Oct. 14 Kaiser Health News report.

This is because unlike some state laws, the new act bars arbitrators — who must decide on costs if providers and payers fail to reach an agreement after negotiating on a surprise bill for 30 days — from considering high-billed charges and low payment amounts. 

"This seems likely to reduce premiums in addition to protecting patients from surprise bills," Loren Adler, associate director of the University of Southern California-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, told Kaiser Health News

However, policy experts don't anticipate that the slowdown will be substantial, if it comes into play at all. The Congressional Budget Office expects, at most, a 1 percent slowdown.

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