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AANS and CNS Urge Congress to Adopt Principles in Surprise Medical Bills Legislation

On Feb. 7, the AANS and the CNS joined more than 100 state and national medical societies in sending Congress a letter outlining organized medicine’s core principles on so-called “surprise medical bills.” Given growing concern over the practice of unanticipated medical bills — largely driven by narrow insurance networks, which leaves some patients on the hook with the bill if they receive care from an out-of-network provider — Congress and the Trump Administration are considering legislation and/or regulations to address this problem. The principles include:

  • Insurer accountability to ensure network adequacy;
  • Limits on patient responsibility to in-network cost-sharing for unanticipated care;
  • Transparency about out-of-network providers and costs for scheduled care;
  • Setting benchmark payments, if any, based on charge data from an independent claims database (e.g., FAIR Health);
  • Alternative dispute resolution, such as baseball-style arbitration; and
  • Keep patients out of the middle.

Last October, the AANS and the CNS submitted comprehensive comments in response to a draft bill circulated by Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.), and we continue to participate in an American Medical Association-led workgroup on this issue.

May 2019