Chairman Scott, Ranking Member Foxx Unveil Bipartisan Proposal to Ban Surprise Billing, Markup Scheduled Tuesday

February 7, 2020
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05) unveiled the Ban Surprise Billing Act, a bipartisan agreement to protect patients from devastating surprise bills. The Committee is scheduled to markup the legislation on Tuesday, February 11.

“Patients across the country know the frustration, anxiety, and financial hardship that comes with a surprise medical bill,” said Chairman Scott. “There is bipartisan agreement that we must protect patients from these shocking out-of-pocket costs, and the Ban Surprise Billing Act is a bipartisan solution. This legislation builds and expands on existing bipartisan work and fulfills our responsibility to enact meaningful reforms to protect patients. I look forward to advancing this legislation through the Committee and securing these critical protections for patients and their families.” 

 “Unexpected medical bills cause a significant amount of financial and emotional stress for American workers and families,” said Ranking Member Foxx. “Patients deserve access to clear information about their health care coverage. The introduction of today’s bipartisan legislation, the Ban Surprise Billing Act, is the result of extensive collaboration and hard work on behalf of American families and brings us one step closer to achieving our shared goal of shielding Americans from surprise medical bills. I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work next week at a full committee markup of the Ban Surprise Billing Act.” 

The Ban Surprise Billing Act provides important consumer protections for Americans who receive health care coverage through their employer and for those enrolled in the individual market. The bill:

  • Protects patients from receiving surprise bills by limiting cost-sharing to their plan’s in-network rate and prohibiting out-of-network providers from sending balance bills that exceed the in-network rate.
  • Protects air ambulance patients and takes steps to address ground ambulance surprise bills.
  • Builds on various bipartisan agreements for resolving payment disputes between providers and payers.
    • For amounts less than or equal to $750 (or $25,000 for air ambulance services), relies on a market-based benchmark of the median in-network rate of providing similar items or services in the same geographic area.
    • For amounts above $750 ($25,000 for air ambulance services), providers and payers may elect to use independent dispute resolution (IDR) to determine a fair payment amount.
  • Includes bipartisan reforms to improve transparency so patients can better understand their coverage, including:
    • Requiring health plans to maintain up-to-date and accurate provider directories
    • Improving consumer access to information regarding expected cost-sharing
    • Improving transparency regarding in-network and out-of-network deductibles and out-of-pocket limitations

To watch the full Committee markup of the Ban Surprise Billing Act on Tuesday, February 11 at 10:15 a.m., click here.

To read the fact sheet for the Ban Surprise Billing Act, click here