WSHA submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) in response to the most recent version of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. The draft bipartisan bill contains provisions with broad impacts on health care, including surprise medical billing, price transparency, and provider contracting. Washington State Senator Patty Murray is ranking member of the committee.
In its comments, WSHA opposed the Act’s proposal to allow insurers to apply default payment rates for out-of-network services. WSHA supports the dispute resolution process contained in HB 1065 recently passed by the Washington State legislature. WSHA also raised concerns regarding the Act’s requirement that hospitals notify patients of potential out-of-network services for non-emergency services more than 48 hours in advance of scheduled services, as it would be impossible to comply with without significant delays to patient treatment. Also, WSHA commented that provisions relating to patient billing are unworkable, as the timelines in the Act would require hospitals to bill patients for their responsibility before the claim could be processed by the insurer and the payment and cost-sharing amounts known.
WSHA will continue to provide comments to the HELP Committee as the bill progresses. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org).