'A lot of money on the table': Fight brews over surprise medical bills

December 18, 2021


'Not as straightforward'
Meanwhile, providers say that they’re unfairly targeted.

“It's not as straightforward as I think the administration either hopes or is painting it to be,” said Laura Wooster, senior vice president of advocacy and practice affairs at the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“It kind of feels like providers keep getting painted with this brush of being greedy or [they] have always overcharged” patients, she said.

Rate-slashing: Even before the law has taken effect, providers argue that the insurance industry is already taking advantage of the impending rules, which go into effect at the beginning of the year.

Three insurance companies wrote providers in North Carolina, saying that they must accept payment cuts between 20 and 40 percent or their in-network contracts would be terminated, according to a letter the American College of Emergency Physicians sent Congress last week.

“For one insurer, it might sound like, 'OK, that's not going to end a business.' But when you have four or five different insurers, and they're all doing this,” said Wooster, “it just can't be sustained.”

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