SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) urges the United States Congress to pass the No Surprises Act before leaving Washington, D.C. for the holiday recess. This legislation would effectively end the practice of hospitals and providers billing patients skyrocketing rates for care received out-of-network even if the patient was unaware they were out of their insurance network. Surprise billing has remained a priority for Congress this year despite the need to devote time to addressing the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This latest version of the No Surprises Act invokes the involvement of an independent arbiter to settle disagreements between providers and insurers over how much to pay for surprise medical bills. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 18 percent of all emergency room visits and 16 percent of in-network hospital stays had at least one out-of-network charge resulting in a surprise medical bill. The occurrence of surprise medical bills can be much higher in states without protections in place.
The No Surprises Act would also help to enforce provider nondiscrimination laws that prevent insurance companies from excluding whole classes of providers from their networks or reimbursing them at unfair rates. Insurance companies often employ these practices to avoid paying out insurance claims and leave patients to foot the bill.
ANA supports the new version of the No Surprises Act. It has not yet been publicly announced if this bill will be included in a larger legislative package around COVID-19 or a year end omnibus spending bill.
ANA's legislative and regulatory work and priorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic are available via this online resource center.
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The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.
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