The No Surprises Act came into effect on January 1, 2022. According to the new law passed by the Federal Government, medical flight service providers can no longer approach consumers for the balance payment, thus putting an end to surprise billing practices. This looks like good protection for people availing medical flight services against financial liabilities. However, a deeper look into the issue reveals some ambiguity and disagreements. Some medical flight service providers are now challenging the new laws. However, the law stays implemented. Let us take a look at the various aspects surrounding this law.
Balance Payment and Surprise Billing
We must first understand what balance payment demands are all about. Before the No Surprises Bill came into effect, consumers were liable for balance payments. Here, when out-of-network medical flight services were availed, the patients were charged the remaining amount that would remain un-covered by the health insurance providers. This amount is known as the balance payment demand. Many a time, this charge would come as a surprise to the consumers, hence the name surprise billing. It has been witnessed in the past that the amount was so high that some patients had to take the legal route or even face bankruptcy.
Why are Medical Flight Service Providers Challenging the Bill?
The new law is very effective in ensuring that the interests of the patients who avail medical flight services are well protected. However, medical flight service providers beg to differ. They contend that the cost that they incur are far too great when compared to those covered by the health insurance companies. At present, they are compelled to agree to the sum that is decided by the health insurance companies. Any dispute that arises has to go through an arbitration process that keeps the patient away from it. The medical flight service providers feel that this process is biased towards the insurance industry.