Washington, D.C.—This week the House Education and Labor and Ways and Means Committees are set to mark-up legislation that would exempt patients from having to pay surprise medical bills in most circumstances. Surprise medical bills are bills that result from a patient unexpectedly receiving care or a service from an out-of-network provider, often during an urgent situation where neither the patient nor the provider are aware of the discrepancy.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“This week’s committee action is a welcome step toward providing relief and added peace of mind to cancer patients who receive large medical bills due to inadvertently getting care from an out-of-network provider. These surprise bills are often difficult for cancer patients to afford and add stress to an already challenging time.
“According to a recent ACS CAN Survivor Views survey, nearly a quarter of all cancer patients and survivors have experienced a surprise medical bill, the majority of which were over $500 and 20 percent of which were more than $3,000. Understandably, these bills negatively affect patients’ behavior with most patient saying they worry about how such bills might make it hard for them to pay for the rest of their care.
“Patients need to be removed from these billing issues. Unintentionally getting care outside of an insurance network should not mean financial devastation and needless stress for any cancer patient.
“On behalf of all cancer patients, we strongly encourage lawmakers to keep working together to pass legislation to end surprise medical bills.”