CREDO Action

We have a chance to ban surprise medical bills

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Petition to Congress:

"Pass legislation to ban surprise 'balance billing' medical bills, contain total costs for everyone and ensure comprehensive protection nationwide."

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    We have a chance to ban surprise medical bills

    It's bad enough that Americans have to pause in the midst of medical emergencies to ask if insurance companies will cover the cost of treatment. But it's even worse that visits to "in-network" providers can still result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in surprise medical bills.1

    Today, one in five emergency room visits – and 70 percent of critical air ambulance transports – result in surprise medical bills. When healthcare providers and insurance companies can't agree on how much treatment costs, they turn around and bill patients for the difference.2

    The greed of insurance companies has broken our healthcare system in more ways than we can count. But right now, we have a chance at real, bipartisan action to end surprise medical billing, and we can't let it go to waste.

    Tell Congress: Ban surprise medical bills.

    One surprise medical bill can tip someone into bankruptcy, and they are growing more and more common. Maybe the insurance company pads its profits by paying the hospital or ambulance less than the treatment costs. Or providers demand higher and higher fees that the insurance company won't pay. Or the insurer reimburses the hospital, but not the doctor who provided treatment. Regardless, the story ends the same: patients end up stuck paying for the balance with no warning or through no fault of their own.3

    The good news is that there is new momentum in Congress to ban this "balance billing," based on three commonsense principles:4

    • Ban surprise balance billing and fully protect patients with no exceptions, especially in emergency situations where people can't make sure they will see an in-network provider
    • Contain costs by establishing a reasonable payment level between providers and insurers based on actual prices and not corporate greed
    • Ensure comprehensive protection nationwide so federal law reinforces the strongest state laws and helps people in states with no protections

    A surprising bipartisan consensus in Congress is emerging against surprise medical bills but insurers and emergency medical providers are fighting back to protect their profits.5 It's up to us to fight for the strongest possible legislation with no loopholes or handouts – and ban surprise medical billing.

    Tell Congress: Ban surprise medical bills.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Margot Sanger-Katz and Reed Abelson, "Surprise! Insurance Paid the E.R. but Not the Doctor," The New York Times, Nov. 16, 2016.
    2. The No Surprises Campaign, "Statement of Principles," accessed Dec. 1, 2019.
    3. Sanger-Katz and Abelson, "Surprise! Insurance Paid the E.R. but Not the Doctor."
    4. The No Surprises Campaign, "Statement of Principles."
    5. Mary Ellen McIntire, "Air ambulance services face scrutiny over surprise billing issues," Roll Call, Oct. 2, 2019.