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CR urges House Energy & Commerce Committee to protect patients from surprise medical bills

Committee voting today on “No Surprises Act” to ensure patients don’t get stuck with huge, unexpected medical bills 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports called on members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to approve HR 3630, legislation that protects patients from surprise medical bills when they receive out-of-network care at no fault of their own.  The Committee will vote today on the “No Surprises Act,” which prohibits insurers from charging patients out-of-network rates for emergency room care or care provided at in-network health care facilities.

“It is fundamentally unfair for patients to get hit with surprise out of-network medical bills when they are treated at health care facilities covered by their insurance,” said Dena Mendelsohn, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports.  “Congress should ensure patients aren’t stuck with huge, unexpected medical bills that leave them buried deep in debt.  We need fair rules that prohibit surprise medical bills and keep premiums affordable for consumers.”

Even if patients go to a hospital in their insurer’s network, there is no guarantee that all of their treatment will be treated as in-network.   Patients can end up with a surprise medical bill for care they receive at in-network hospitals, for example, when an out-of-network doctor assists during surgery, or is on duty in the emergency room, or when their lab sample is sent outside the facility for analysis.

Consumer Reports has been a leader in supporting bills at the state level to protect patients from surprise medical bills.  In a letter sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Consumer Reports joined Families USA and a coalition of other organizations to urge lawmakers to support HR 3630.

Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537 or David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262