On September 13, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Interim Final Rule on the No Surprises Act went into effect. Surprise medical bills arise when patients visit a hospital or health care provider that they think is in their insurance network, but are then treated by a doctor, specialist, technician, or other health care provider who is out-of-network. The patient is then billed directly by the provider for an unexpectedly expensive out-of-network service. The interim final rule protects consumers by implementing the following protections:
- Banning surprise billing for emergency services,
- Banning out-of-network charges for ancillary care at an in-network facility,
- Banning non-emergency out-of-network charges without notice and consent from patients; and
- Requiring health plans to apply the same cost-sharing requirements to out-of-network services as in-network services in both emergency and non-emergency treatments.