On September 30, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury (collectively, the Departments), along with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), released an interim final rule with comment period, entitled “Requirements Related to Surprise Billing; Part II.”

This interim final rule implements certain provisions of the No Surprises Act, which was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and establishes new protections from surprise billing and excessive cost sharing for consumers receiving health care items/services.

Requirements Related to Surprise Billing Part II include:

  1. A federal independent dispute resolution (IDR) process that out-of-network (OON) providers, facilities, providers of air ambulance services, plans, and issuers in the group and individual markets may use to determine the OON rate for applicable items or services after an unsuccessful open negotiation.
  2. Good faith estimates for uninsured (or self-pay) individuals, which must include expected charges for the items or services that are reasonably expected to be provided together with the primary item or service, including items or services that may be provided by other providers and facilities.
  3. A patient-provider dispute resolution process to determine a payment amount when an uninsured (or self-pay) individual receives a good faith estimate and then is billed for an amount substantially in excess of the good faith estimate.
  4. An external review process to include determinations that involve whether a plan or issuer is complying with the surprise billing and cost-sharing protections under the No Surprises Act and its implementing regulations.

The regulations in the rule are generally applicable to group health plans and health insurance issuers for plan and policy years beginning on or after January 1, 2022. Written comments on the rule issued on September 30, 2021, must be received by 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register to be considered.

Source: U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

 

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