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AOA

Make your voice heard on pending surprise billing legislation

By AOA Staff

01.02.20

Ask your member of Congress to ensure that any surprise billing legislation addresses the AOA’s concerns. Act now and help protect your profession and your patients!

For background, in December, Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee announced they had reached a bi-partisan, bi-cameral consensus on legislation to end the practice of surprise billing – the No Surprises Act, which was part of a larger package, the Lower Health Care Costs Act.

The No Surprises Act has improved from the original surprise billing legislation proposed in both committees and has started to address some of the AOA’s major concerns with the proposals. However, as currently written, it does not go far enough to ensure that patients and physicians are treated fairly when dealing with out-of-network charges for emergency services. But the bill still:

  • Uses in-network media rates to determine a benchmark for out-of-network care, which would disincentivize insurers from developing contracts to expand their networks and avoid out-of-network care in the first place;
  • Has a high threshold for independent dispute resolution which now includes a 90-day freeze on a physician’s ability to go to arbitration if they lose an arbitration; and,
  • Does not address the issue of insurer network adequacy.

Because of these shortcomings, the AOA wrote to Congressional leaders on Dec. 12 to ask that they not move forward with the No Surprises Act before they fix the legislation to protect patients and physicians and then finalize legislation for a vote. Fortunately, our concerns were heard and surprise billing legislation voting was postponed until after the holidays.

Now that it is 2020, surprise billing is at the top of Congress’ ‘to-do’ list. That’s why it’s so important you write your member of Congress and make your voice heard. Learn more about all of the AOA’s ongoing advocacy efforts and how you can get involved by visiting the Osteopathic Advocacy Network page.