President’s Efforts to Limit Surprise Medical Bills and Reduce Health Care Expenses

Surprise Medical Billing

The President administration has announced its intention to restrict the sale of “junk” insurance policies, including short-term plans that may not provide adequate coverage for individuals who are in-between jobs and require temporary health care coverage. These policies have been known to deny basic coverage to policyholders.

On Friday, President announced a set of fresh measures aimed at reducing health care expenses. These include taking action against fraudulent insurance policies, offering guidance to prevent sudden medical bills, and reducing medical debt associated with credit cards.

These initiatives complement previous efforts to limit health care costs, including the introduction of a cap on out-of-pocket expenses as part of the Inflation Reduction Act last year. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that around 18.7 million Medicare beneficiaries and older adults will save approximately $400 per year on prescription drug costs by 2025 as a result of this cap.

As inflation continues to be a top concern for voters, the Democratic president is gearing up for his 2024 reelection campaign by highlighting his policies aimed at assisting families with managing their expenses. Additionally, the government is offering incentives to encourage private sector development of clean energy, electric vehicles, and advanced computer chips.
However, Republican lawmakers have criticized these policies, claiming that they have led to higher prices that negatively impact families. In response, the President administration is planning to restrict what it calls “junk” insurance policies, including short-term plans that may not provide basic coverage for individuals transitioning between jobs and in need of temporary health care coverage.

During a recent briefing, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council cited an example of a Montana resident who was hit with a $43,000 health care bill due to his insurer classifying his cancer as a pre-existing condition.

During a press briefing ahead of President’s announcement, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, referred to these types of insurance plans as “junk insurance” and not genuine insurance. She further stated that the administration intends to introduce a regulation to address these policies.

As part of his announcement, President also unveiled new guidance on medical billing, which is based on the No Surprises Act from 2020. The guidance aims to restrict the ability of insurance companies that partner with hospitals to claim that the care provided was out-of-network and to charge customers additional fees. Additionally, health plans will now be required to disclose facility fees that are increasingly being charged to patients and can lead to unexpected expenses on medical bills.

The administration views the actions of insurers that are taking advantage of the system as unfair and unacceptable. In the words of the White House Domestic Policy Council Director, “Frankly, what they are doing is gaming the system — this is not allowed.” Director said.

In addition to the aforementioned measures, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Treasury Department are also requesting information on third-party credit cards and loans that are designed specifically to pay for medical expenses. The increased costs and interest rates associated with these financial products can deter individuals from seeking necessary medical treatment. President  is also expected to draw attention to previous initiatives aimed at lowering health care costs, such as Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and a monthly price cap of $35 for insulin for individuals enrolled in Medicare Part B.

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