HHS Bans surprise Medical Billing during COVID-19 Pandemic: 5 Things you must know

Coronavirus is spreading globally like a wildfire and every country is severely affected. Coronavirus (also called COVID-19) is a pandemic disease and also regarded as a global health crisis of this era.

Coronavirus had a huge impact on trade, commerce, and many industries. In short, COVID-19 has pressed heavily the economy of every country. The economy of many developed and underdeveloped countries have been takedown. It is the second biggest challenge that the whole world has faced after World War- 2.

Surprise medical billing occurred when a patient gets treatment from a healthcare provider or physician that is out of network. The provider charges that person for the amount that insurance did not cover an out-of-network service.

Surprise medical billing for patients is causing problems. It may extend from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Because of a recent bill present in the cabinet, the US government had decided and ordered all healthcare institutes not to send surprise medical bills to the person affected with COVID-19. The government will be responsible for such expenses.

All healthcare institutes that follow government guidelines have to sign an agreement that they would not charge any additional money from the government and will do their duty diligently. A recent data about the effect of COVID-19 on surprise medical billing is mentioned below:

  1. According to the conditions of HHS, the hospitals which are receiving funds federally to treat the patients of COVID-19 can be banned if they charge surprise bills from patients. They banned to avoid health systems by dispatching surprise billing to the patients of COVID-19. HHS wrote a letter stating: “View broadly each and every infected patient of COVID-19”. If the hospitals agreed with this contract, they will have to stop surprise medical billing for those infected patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In another statement of HHS stated: “The main aim of terms and conditions was just to inhibit the surprise medical billing for presumptive and actual COVID-19”. Besides this, we even clarify this in terms and conditions.
  2. The recent restrictions by regulatory authorities can end temporarily. As this practice has been banned and restricted in many states, but still the federal government does not take serious action against it. According to an argument, the HHS is just doing misuse of its authority after including the provision.
  3. To keep health systems effective and affordable for patients, many states have taken individual measures. Coronavirus infected citizens are now protected from surprise medical billing during a pandemic. For instance, the state of Connecticut implements the policy to make sure that the patients may be protected from surprise medical billing in order to get treatment provided during COVID-19. Those patients who are out-of-network should be treated for emergency care as an in-network.
  4. Surprise medical billing is also viewed by many Americans as their top healthcare issue. According to a survey, 56% of Americans called that “Legislators should respond to address surprise billing”.
  5. During COVID-19, there is a possibility that the government may take measures to enforce a permanent end of out-of-network or surprise billing.