Will it Fly? Wyoming Attempts End Run Around High Air Ambulance Prices

Air ambulance charges are a significant source of surprise out-of-network bills for many patients, with charges running into 5 figures. States have been frustrated in their efforts to protect consumers in this context due to a federal law preempting regulation of air carrier prices, including air ambulances. However, the state of Wyoming may have hit on a unique solution – effectively making air ambulance a public utility. Will it work? CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette takes a look. Continue reading

Successfully Splitting the Baby: Design Considerations for Federal Balance Billing Legislation

The U.S. Congress is advancing legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills. Yet consensus on how to resolve payment disputes between providers and health plans has been difficult to reach. In their latest post for the Health Affairs Blog, Sabrina Corlette, Jack Hoadley, and Kevin Lucia break down different policy approaches, their pros and cons, and how recent state action could suggest a path forward. Continue reading

New York’s Law to Protect People from Surprise Balance Bills is Working as Intended, but Gaps Remain

New York’s 2014 law to protect consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills has been touted as a model for other states and even potential federal legislation. In their latest report for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Olivia Hoppe share findings from a case study of how New York’s law has affected patients, providers, and insurers, 5 years post-enactment. Continue reading

Balance Billing for Air Ambulance Remains a Problem in Maryland

Although Maryland is among the handful of states that regulate balance billing for out-of-network situations, as we discuss in a previous report, the state’s law does not address air ambulance charges. Balance billing for air ambulances remain a problem in Maryland and its insurance department held a public meeting last Friday to discuss the issue. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn provides highlights of the meeting and other state efforts to address this consumer problem. Continue reading