Patients will find Tougher to Navigate through Health Insurance with the New Surprise Billing Laws
In Lansing, a set of bills has unfortunately made their way through the legislature that is expected to make the matters worse for the patients, especially during a time when people are least equipped to include more agony in their list.
Recently after moving through the House of Representatives, the bills have landed in the state Senate that aim to handle the surprise billing problem. However, sadly the House version of the law is expected to do more harm than good.
Surprise billing is a big problem for patients that often happens with them while receiving treatment, mostly for a medical emergency that they receive from a doctor who is not included in their health plan’s network. Since the health insurance company does not have any association with the health care team rendering the care, they refuse to cover the treatment, and thus patients receive a massive bill in the mail.
All the U.S. states are looking to find ways to prevent this from happening and they are adopting a different measure to save patients from huge bills. The ultimate goal of all the states is always to focus on the patients’ needs.
The first introduced House Bill 4459 shifted entire power to the health insurance companies and also affected patient access to doctors. In the original version of the bill, at least patients were removed from the middle of the billing disputes. Albeit, the House revised the legislation before sending it to the Senate to allow health insurance companies to reimburse the patient instead of non-participating providers in these cases. Thus, patients were again back in the middle, and it is a hassle that patients just don’t require. It is extremely difficult for the patients to distinguish the healthcare services provided by each provider and to know whether each healthcare provider involved in the medical process was in or out of network while undergoing treatment for a medical emergency.
If this legislation gets passed as currently written, then patients are sure to face a really tough time ahead. Now suppose a patient is suffering from cancer, then they are not just burdened with coping with this deadly disease but they also have to navigate through the extremely complicated world of health care. Among all these complications, imagine that cancer patient has less healthcare access to care and huge bills.
There is a concern in the healthcare sector that bill may lead to the union of healthcare providers that may lead to price increases of 20% to 40%, as per America’s Health Insurance Plans. This is a disaster for cancer patients, especially during a global pandemic.
There are many hurdles such as financial, cultural, language barriers, transportation issues, and more that already prevent patients from getting screened and receiving treatment. Healthcare staff, volunteers, supporters are working day and night to save lives, to fund research, to provide education, and to connect men and women with lifesaving care.
The “surprise billing” bills backed by the House make it harder for patients to access care, and limit people’s access to the doctors they need, know, and trust. It is good that the legislature is handling surprise billing but they should just find a better way of doing.