“AHA News Reports CMS Release of No Surprises Act Consumer Webpage”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently unveiled a new webpage aimed at providing consumers with information about patient protections pertaining to unexpected out-of-network healthcare costs.

The webpage, implemented as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, highlights the importance of being aware of unexpected out-of-network charges and provides resources for consumers to address and potentially prevent such situations. CMS is dedicated to ensuring that people have access to quality healthcare services without being burdened by surprise bills.

Out-of-network costs arise when patients receive medical care from healthcare providers who are not in their insurance network. In such cases, patients are often billed directly for the difference between what their insurance plan covers and what the out-of-network provider charges. Unfortunately, these charges are typically significantly higher, leaving patients with exorbitant medical bills, sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars.

The new webpage curated by CMS provides helpful information to educate patients about how to protect themselves from unexpected out-of-network costs. It explains various scenarios in which patients might encounter such charges, such as during emergencies when people have little or no choice over their healthcare provider.

The webpage advises patients to take preventive measures such as contacting their insurance company to verify network coverage before receiving any services. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s insurance plan and knowing their rights as a patient, including being aware of state laws that protect against surprise billing. CMS’s webpage further explains the role of the Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process, which individuals can use to resolve billing disputes in certain situations.

In addition to providing information, the webpage includes resources that enable patients to take action. It offers links to state-specific information on surprise billing protections, state insurance departments, and consumer assistance programs. Patients can also access materials such as sample letters to help them communicate with their insurance company or healthcare provider.

Through the launch of this webpage, CMS aims to empower patients and equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the complex world of healthcare costs. By advocating for consumer protection and increasing awareness, CMS hopes to alleviate the financial strain experienced by individuals facing unexpected out-of-network charges.

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