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WASHINGTON -- Patients who received medical care in January and February are starting to receive their medical bills for those services. That’s why, in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, it’s timely to remind people to check their bills carefully and make sure they know their new legal protections against surprise billing. U.S. PIRG’s patient tips guide helps Americans understand and use their rights under the No Surprises Act, which went into effect on Jan.1, 2022.
This landmark law prohibits out-of-network providers from sending surprise bills to patients who receive emergency room care, air ambulance services or non-emergency care at in-network hospitals. It protects insured patients from out-of-network providers overcharging them and keeps consumers out of the middle of payment disputes. Additionally, the law gives cash-paying patients the right to an up-front, good faith estimate before treatment, and providers then cannot exceed that estimate by more than $400.
“The U.S. is no longer the lawless Wild West when it comes to medical bills. There’s a new sheriff in town, enforcing the No Surprises Act,” said Patricia Kelmar, U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s health care campaigns director. “Patients should double-check their medical bills for any hospital care they received this year and act immediately to fight any illegal surprise bill they receive by filing a complaint with the federal No Surprises hotline.”
Our patient tip guide is part of U.S. PIRG’s work to recognize National Consumer Protection Week 2022 by putting actionable consumer protection information in the hands of all Americans. All week, PIRG Education Fund is providing consumer protection tips and tools to help Americans address some of the most common consumer issues that threaten our health, safety or financial security. To see all of our resources for consumers, go to: https://uspirgedfund.org/blogs/blog/usf/national-consumer-protection-week-2022
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