DISCLOSURE NOTICE REGARDING PATIENT PROTECTION AGAINST SURPRISE BILLING
Effective January 1, 2022, the NO SURPRISES ACT, which Congress passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, is designed to protect patients from surprise bills for emergency services at out of network providers at in network facilities, holding them liable only for in network cost sharing amounts. The NO SURPRISES ACT also enables uninsured or self-pay patients to receive a good faith estimate of the cost of their care.
Billing Disclosures – Your Rights and Protections against Surprise Medical Bills
When you get emergency care or get treated by an out of network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.
What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)?
When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, like a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. You may have additional costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network. “Out-of-network” means providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan to provide services. Out-of-network providers may be allowed to bill you for the difference between what your plan pays, and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your plan’s deductible or annual out-of-pocket limit.
“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider. Surprise medical bills could cost thousands of dollars depending on the procedure or service.
You’re protected from balance billing for:
Emergency services If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out of network provider or facility, the most they can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services.
When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network.
In these cases, the most those providers can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed. If you get other types of services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections. You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get out-of-network care. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.
When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have these protections:
• You’re only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductible that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay any additional costs to out-of-network providers and facilities directly.
• Generally, your health plan must:
Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (also known as “prior authorization”).
Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers.
Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits.
Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your in-network deductible and out-of-pocket limit. If you think you’ve been wrongly billed, contact the Federal phone number for information and complaints involving surprise billing issues is: 1-800-985-3059; The Missouri Department of Insurance, the state agency which will accept complaints dealing with surprise billing matters is: 1800-726-7390. Also, you can visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers or https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/complaints for more information about your rights under federal and state law.