WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) supports bipartisan legislation introduced today by Representatives Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) with 32 original cosponsors that will protect patients from surprise medical bills. Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP said:
“The ‘Protecting People From Surprise Medical Bills Act’ truly takes patients out of the middle of disputes between insurers and medical providers. This bill goes further than any other legislative proposals to encourage transparency from insurance providers and make sure that patients understand the limitations of their insurance.
This bill makes certain that a patient only pays the in-network amount for emergency care, whether the care delivered was in- or out-of-network. ACEP strongly supports the bill’s provision that extends this important protection to the patient’s deductible – bringing down the amount a patient must pay out of their own pocket before their insurance kicks in. This key provision will encourage health plans to expand their networks for emergency care – helping to address the root cause of “surprise bills,” narrow insurance networks.
With the introduction of this bill, ACEP is optimistic a solution is in sight that will allow Congress to protect patients from surprise bills while avoiding unintended cost consequences or massive disruption of our health system. We are eager to continue working with bipartisan members of the House and Senate on measures that hold patients harmless, provide a level playing field for providers in network or in billing negotiations with insurers, and continue to enable emergency physicians to treat anyone, anytime, anywhere, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
We thank Reps. Ruiz, Roe, and all of the bipartisan cosponsors for recognizing the need for a policy remedy that more directly addresses the root cause of surprise bills, which is inadequate insurance networks.”