Department of Transportation Hosts the Inaugural Meeting of Committee to Advise on Air Ambulance Billing Issues

On January 15th and 16th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation held the inaugural Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee meeting. Established by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, the Committee is tasked with reviewing “options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services, and protect consumers from balance billing.” CHIR’s Maanasa Kona discusses some of the key takeaways from the meeting. Continue reading

The FAA Reauthorization Bill – An Unexpected Vehicle for Relief from Surprise Medical Bills?

More often than not, air ambulance services are called in to serve people in severe physical distress who do not have the capacity at the time to provide consent. Yet many are later hit with huge surprise out-of-network charges for the flight. State departments of insurance and state legislators across the nation have taken notice of this issue and sought to protect consumers, but a federal law that has nothing to do with health care prevents them from regulating air ambulance providers. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona explains two potential federal remedies. Continue reading

If It Talks Like Insurance and Walks Like Insurance: The Curious Case of Direct Primary Care Arrangements

For decades, elite “concierge” practices have been providing easy access to primary care in return for several thousand dollars in retainer fees. Recently we’ve seen the emergence of more affordable versions of this arrangement, with monthly fees that cost far less than the average ACA marketplace plan premium. At first blush, these arrangements, frequently called “direct primary care arrangements” (DPCAs), might seem like a way to ensure access to health care services in the face of rising health insurance premiums. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona explains why this is not always the case. Continue reading