WASHINGTON, D.C. – (May 24, 2022) – No American should ever face a surprise medical bill that can lead to financial ruin. Yet before the No Surprises Act (NSA) millions of patients received surprise medical bills from hospitals, physicians, and private-equity care providers that they did not expect at prices they could not afford. Today, AHIP and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) released a survey and analysis which found that in the first two months of 2022, the NSA prevented more than two million potential surprise medical bills across all commercially insured patients. The analysis also found that should this trend hold, more than 12 million surprise bills will be avoided in 2022.
“The No Surprises Act ended the practice of surprise medical billing in most circumstances, providing relief for millions of patients who faced surprise medical bills they did not expect at prices they could not afford,” said Matt Eyles, AHIP president and CEO. “Health insurance providers applaud the Administration and Congress for taking this important step. But more work needs to be done to ensure a broken bone doesn’t break the bank.”
Among other provisions, the NSA established a process for resolving disagreements on what a health plan will pay the out-of-network provider or facility, culminating in independent dispute resolution (IDR). Since taking effect at the beginning of 2022, a key question of interest to federal policymakers has been how many claims may be disputed through IDR each year and what impact that will have on the affordability of health care. The findings of the AHIP-BCBSA survey provide critical information which demonstrates how many patients and consumers have already benefited from the NSA and how important the current IDR process will be in establishing predictability in overall costs.
“There is no room for surprise medical bills in a health care system that puts people first,” Kim Keck, BCBSA president and CEO. “As recently as last year, an emergency visit to the hospital may have left patients on the hook for steep, surprise medical bills. The No Surprises Act has not only put an end to this loophole, but it has provided undeniable financial protection to millions of Americans.”
Voters have also expressed support for protections against surprise medical bills. A recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing (CASMB) found that 79% of voters are concerned that lawsuits from physician and hospital organizations could delay or overturn the patient protections included in the NSA.
AHIP is the national association whose members provide health care coverage, services, and solutions to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that make health care better and coverage more affordable and accessible for everyone. Visit www.ahip.org to learn how working together, we are Guiding Greater Health.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 34 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans.