AAFP Supports Patient Protections in "No Surprises" Act While Calling for Administrative Simplification

Oct. 1, 2021 - On Sept. 30, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury and the Office of Personnel Management issued an interim final rule with comment period to further implement the No Surprises Act – a consumer protection law that helps curb the practice of surprise medical billing.

The rule, among other things, will take patients out of the middle of payment disputes, provides a transparent process to settle out-of-network rates between providers and payers, and outlines requirements for healthcare cost estimates for uninsured (or self-pay) individuals.

A stakeholder briefing on the interim rule is taking place on Oct. 4, 2 pm ET.

Earlier in Sept., AAFP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expressing strong support for patient protections in part I of the surprise billing interim final rule released in July. That letter also called for sharper focus on administrative simplification moving forward.

“While the No Surprises Act implemented several vital patient protections, moving to a value-based healthcare system is essential for reducing patients’ healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes. It is vital that these regulations do not create additional barriers to moving out of fee for service,” wrote then-AAFP Board Chair Gary LeRoy, MD.

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