The Texas Two-Step: Implementation of State Balance Billing Law Reveals Gaps in Consumer Protections

In Congress and state legislatures across the country, policymakers are debating fixes to surprise medical bills. The federal government has yet to enact comprehensive reforms, but a number of states have taken steps to protect consumers. One such state is Texas, which last year enacted a new law holding consumers harmless in situations that commonly lead to surprise medical bills. However, the state’s new protections were almost gutted due to an implementation loophole, a cautionary tale for federal and state policymakers. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at what happened in Texas. Continue reading

Protecting Patients from Air Ambulance Surprise Balance Bills – Where Are We Now?

A recently released report by the Health Care Cost Institute finds that the average price of an air ambulance trip has increased significantly from 2008 to 2017, a Department of Transportation advisory commission is studying the industry’s billing practices, and legislation is pending in Congress to protect patients from surprise bills sent by air ambulance companies. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona and Sabrina Corlette provide an update on the recent activity. Continue reading

Disputes over Dispute Resolution: Analyses of New York & California-style Surprise Billing Protections Offer Divergent Pictures

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a new analysis of legislation that would protect patients from surprise medical bills and help settle physician-insurer payment disputes through an arbitration process. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette takes a look at their projections and three recent assessments of the effect of balance billing laws in New York and California Continue reading

CHIR Launches New Resource Center for Policymakers on Surprise Medical Bills

CHIR experts have launched a new project to provide policymakers with a dedicated, independent resource for unbiased and comprehensive information on the issue of surprise medical bills. Leveraging our experience advising state insurance regulators and monitoring surprise medical bill legislation in all 50 states and before Congress, our goal is to help policymakers protect consumers, promote affordability, and adopt comprehensive surprise medical bill protections. Continue reading

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