A long-debated measure to stop doctors, hospitals and other health care providers from billing patients for charges not covered by their insurance will gain congressional approval as part of the sweeping government spending package.
Congress seems on the verge of finishing a long-delayed COVID-19 relief bill, which will reportedly include neither of the things each party wanted most — for Republicans, liability protections; for Democrats, funding for states and localities. That bill is likely to be tied to a package to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year and, possibly, include a fix for “surprise” medical bills that patients receive when they inadvertently receive care outside their insurance network. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner talks to Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, about the future of employer-provided health insurance.
Studies show that at least half of ground ambulance rides across the nation leave patients with “surprise” medical bills. And a $300-a-mile ride is not unusual. Yet federal legislation to stem what’s known as balance billing has largely ignored ambulance costs.
When a colleague brings a medical billing problem to human resources director Steve Benasso — he goes to battle. “I am a bulldog on this stuff,” he said. In this episode, Benasso tells how he does it.
A college student’s bill for outpatient knee surgery is a whopper — $96K — but the most mysterious part is a $1,167 charge from a health care provider she didn’t even know was in the operating room.
Americans who had coronavirus symptoms in March and April are getting big hospital bills — because they were not sick enough to get then-scarce COVID tests. Some insurers say they are trying to correct these bills, but patients may have to put up a fight.
Jane Collins and Anthony Blow were stunned to learn last fall that their state tax refund was being reduced by $110 because the Charlottesville medical center said they owed money for care their son received in 2001 and 2002.
Some large employers interpreted themselves as exempt from new federal laws that say tests for the coronavirus should be free to patients. Large academic medical centers are holding back from sending bills to these patients to avoid a backlash over surprise billing.
Politicians pledged to stop providers from charging for video appointments or telephone calls, but some patients are being charged $70 or $80 per virtual visit.
Language in the CARES Act says providers who take emergency funding cannot balance-bill coronavirus patients ― and “every patient” is considered a possible COVID-19 patient.