Biden Moves to Lower Health Care Costs, Limit Insurance Junk Fees

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

White House is taking steps to close loopholes that saddle Americans with unexpected medical costs

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — When they need health care, Americans can be slapped with surprise medical costs because of loopholes in the law and “junk fees,” according to the White House. The Biden administration is taking action on several fronts to deal with these unexpected costs.

Proposed rules include closing loopholes in which companies offer “misleading insurance products that can discriminate based on preexisting conditions and trick consumers into buying products that provide little or no coverage when they need it most,” the White House said. Instead, insurance companies would be required to be clear about what is covered and not bury important information in the fine print.

Additional new rules will curb surprise medical billing. This will protect patients from unexpected bills for care they had thought was in-network. These surprise out-of-network bills cost an average of $750 to $2,600, the White House said. It is illegal under federal law for health plans that contract with hospitals to claim being out-of-network. The Biden administration will offer new guidance making this clear to providers.

“Health care services provided by these providers are either out-of-network and subject to the surprise billing protections,” the White House said, “or they are in-network and subject to the Affordable Care Act’s annual limitation on cost-sharing, further protecting consumers from excessive out-of-pocket costs.”

Information on “facility fees” must be clear for consumers, according to a White House fact sheet.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Treasury Department will work together to make sure health care providers are complying with consumer protections.

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