JUNE 18, WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of the of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) hearing on the bipartisan Lower Health Care Costs Act, the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing issued the following statement:

“Surprise medical billing is a prime example of a market-failure that undermines the goal of quality, affordable care for patients. Too often, patients are charged rates that are four, five and even 10 times greater than the rates charged for the same care provided by an in-network provider or clinician. It’s unfair for consumers who are on the receiving end of a bill that can lead to personal bankruptcy and unfair for employers and taxpayers who pay these costs in higher premiums and health expenditures.”

“We applaud the leadership of Sen. Alexander, Sen. Murray and the Committee for proposing many common-sense reforms that will protect consumers and reduce bureaucracy and costs overall for the country. To address this loophole requires us to go beyond simply ending the ‘surprise’ associated with these exorbitant costs. Any federal legislation must:

  • Protect patients from surprise medical bills sent by out-of-network providers, particularly in cases where patients are seeking emergency care or care from an in-network facility;
  • Require health insurance providers to reimburse non-participating ‘out-of-network’ doctors based on a fair federal benchmark standard; and
  • Avoid a costly, cumbersome arbitration process that increases costs for patients, employers and taxpayers.” ​​​