February 11, 2019
ASA's Position on Surprise Billing Conveyed to Key House Committee
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) joined a formal communication to the House Committee on Ways and Means conveying key principles related to the ongoing discussion of out of network billing, or “surprise billing.” The letter, which was led by the American Medical Association, was supported by more than 50 medical organizations.
Out-of-network payment, also commonly termed “surprise bills” or “balance billing” is a high-level issue of concern for ASA. Out-of-network payment occurs when a patient receives a bill for the amount remaining between the out-of-network provider’s fee and the amount contributed by the patient’s insurer after copay and deductibles. In most cases, balance billing is the result of a large gap between what the insurer chooses to pay and the physician’s billed charge.
In the letter to Congress, key policies that the groups supported included increased insurer accountability, especially in regards to overly narrow provider networks; limits on patient responsibility; price transparency; setting of benchmark payments not based on Medicare rates; application of federal legislation to ERISA plans, and alternative dispute resolution.
ASA has continued to be a leader on this issue, encouraging common-sense solutions that support fair payments while keeping patients out of the middle. Last year, ASA joined several physician organizations in a formal communication to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on this topic. Additionally, ASA has been providing feedback to key Senators who have been leading discussion on proposed related legislation.
Read a copy of the letter here