AMA: Ways & Means surprise bills plan may ‘offer improvements’ over ‘compromise’

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that there are signs that the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is considering a bipartisan surprise medical bills proposal that “offers improvements” over the “compromise” that was recently introduced by the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pension (HELP) Committee.

AMA says that the Ways & Means plan…

– “would limit patients’ out-of-pocket costs to the amounts they would have owed if they had the opportunity to choose in-network physicians and facilities to provide their care.”

– Includes an independent dispute resolution (IDR) system that, unlike other proposals, would “not restrict IDR to claims above a certain threshold amount, nor [would it] establish a payment benchmark based on in-network payment amounts.”

– Includes, “Price and network transparency provisions and protections for patients whose provider networks change during the plan year. Uninsured or cash-paying patients would also have access to IDR if they are given misleading cost information prior to obtaining services.”

AMA says that, “After the outline was released, [Ways & Means] Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) both affirmed their commitment to advancing a balanced approach to address surprise billing early next year, noting that the issue is too complex and important to rush through Congress prior to the holiday recess.”

U.S. House Ways and Means Committee surprise medical bills proposal summary