The Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing hosted a policymaker briefing this week to discuss how the No Surprises Act is already providing essential patient protections and helping to decrease costs for insured Americans and families.
Moderated by Jack Hoadley, the event included a panel featuring Jeanette Thornton, AHIP, Frederick Isasi, Families USA and Katie Keith, O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. They discussed new data highlighting how the No Surprises Act prevented over two million surprise bills in the first two months of 2022 and detailed the eight lawsuits filed that could weaken the patient protections and increase costs. The discussion emphasized the need to preserve the entirety of the No Surprises Act to protect patients from out-of-network surprise bills, lower costs, and prevent the financial interests of certain providers from getting in the way of necessary patient care.
Highlights from the briefing include:
- “We were able to estimate that over 2 million surprise medical bills were prevented just in January and February alone. And if this trend holds, it’ll mean that because of the No Surprises Act, more than 12 million bills will have been prevented in 2022.” – Jeanette Thornton, Senior Vice President, Product, Employer, and Commercial Policy, AHIP
- “In April, we commissioned a survey of almost 2,000 registered voters. After receiving some very general information about the No Surprises Act, our survey respondents show that 79% of voters are really concerned about the impact of lawsuits from physician and hospital organizations that could potentially delay or overturn the patient protections in the No Surprises Act.” – Jeanette Thornton, Senior Vice President, Product, Employer, and Commercial Policy, AHIP
- “Let me say that again, they got home after this very traumatic injury, and received a $65,000 bill just for the air ambulance. And remember, Alexis and her family had health insurance. And her insurance policy clearly included emergency medical transportation. But no matter the hundreds of hours of phone conversations, the pleading, and the documentation that Alexis sent to the air ambulance corporation, letters from the ER doctors, photos of her daughter’s injuries for medical records, the corporation that owned the air ambulance company would not budge. And Alexis and her family owed $65,000 because the ambulance was so called out-of-network.” – Frederick Isasi, Executive Director, Families USA
- “Remember that most of our employer sponsored coverage is what’s called experience rated which means that insurance companies look at the expenses we’ve had the year before and that’s how they build our premiums for the next year. So, when these outrageous prices get charged and we end up paying them, all of us, everyone whose paying premiums, our costs go up. It’s about all of our premiums going up because these corporate health care interests are trying to abuse the prices being paid.” – Frederick Isasi, Executive Director, Families USA
- “A lot of the abuses we’ve seen through surprise medical bills have been by entities and providers where there is a huge amount of private-equity involvement. Many of these companies have used surprise billing as a mechanism to maximize their profit and generate revenue.” – Katie Keith, Director of the Health Policy and Law Initiative, O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University Law Center
- “The law has two primary goals. The first was absolutely to protect patients from these out-of-pocket costs. The second goal of the No Surprises Act was to hold down premiums and really reduce health care costs overall. Every single precursor bill in the No Surprises Act, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would save money on premiums.” – Katie Keith, Director of the Health Policy and Law Initiative, O’Neill Institute at Georgetown University Law Center
To watch the entire briefing, click here.
For more information on the No Surprises Act and to learn about state and federal efforts to protect the law, see the latest from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.