National Surprise Medical Billing proposal is an improvement.

CHICAGO – The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is pleased that a number of ASA’s priorities were addressed in the most recent COVID-19 stimulus bill; some improvements to the final surprise medical bill provisions and partial relief from the previous draconian Medicare cuts scheduled for January 1, 2021.

“I believe our specialty will be better off in 2021 than was initially anticipated,” said ASA President Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA. “However, the surprise medical bill provisions and the Medicare payment cut relief remain far less than ideal. ASA remains committed to working vigorously on these issues, to ensure that frontline anesthesiologists are in no way disadvantaged.” 

Regarding Surprise Medical Bills, ASA worked with other physician stakeholders to secure important additional improvements into the bill that were not included in the December 11, “No Surprises Act” draft proposal, including:

  • An explicit prohibition on health insurance companies presenting artificially low Medicare, Medicaid and public payer rates to an arbiter as part of the independent dispute resolution (IDR) system.
  • Elimination of unreasonable timelines and other requirements related to patient notification and billing requirements.
  • Enhanced physician access to the IDR process by adding clarity to the “90 days cooling-off period” 

The language in this bill are improvements to earlier proposals, which included aggressive government rate-setting, administrative burdens on small and medium sized practices,  and inaccessible and insurer-friendly dispute resolution processes.  

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