As of January 1, 2022 a new federal law was passed by the Biden-Harris Administration that will protect millions of consumers from surprise medical bills. The No Surprises Act bans surprise medical billing for emergency care, and some non-emergency care for private insurance policy holders. The law also requires that self-pay patients receive key information that details an overview of the expected costs involved, and that they be given details about their rights.
For Insured Individuals, Protections from Surprise Medical Bills:
For people who have health coverage through an employer, a Health Insurance Marketplace®, or an individual health plan purchased directly from an insurer, the rules that took effect January 1, 2022:
Bans surprise bills any time you receive emergency care, and require that cost sharing for these services, like co-pays, always be based on in-network rates, even when care is received without prior authorization.
Bans surprise bills from certain out-of-network providers if you go to an in-network hospital for a procedure. This means cost sharing for certain additional services during your visit will generally be based on in-network rates.
Requires providers and facilities to share with patients easy-to-understand notices that explain the applicable billing protections and who to contact if they have concerns that a provider or facility has violated the new surprise billing protections.
For Uninsured Individuals, Better Advanced Knowledge of Costs:
For people who do not have health insurance or pay for care on their own (also known as “self-paying”), the rules that took effect January 1, 2022 require most providers to give a “good faith estimate” of costs before providing non-emergency care.
The good faith estimate must include expected charges for the primary item or service, as well as any other items or services that would reasonably be expected. For an uninsured or self-pay consumer getting surgery, for example, the estimate would include the cost of the surgery, as well as any labs, other tests, and anesthesia that might be used during the procedure.
Uninsured or self-pay consumers who receive a final bill that exceeds the good faith estimate by $400 or more can dispute the final charges.