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The Well News Highlights Recent CQC Research

In a recent article, The Well News highlighted Consumers for Quality Care's latest research.

"New legislation in the California state house is seeking to end surprise hospital bills that catch unwitting patients with expensive out-of-network insurance costs for emergency care. …

California has taken strong steps to end the predatory practice of surprise billing once and for all, as Nina Dang’s case has been featured in a series of stories across the country. A new bill, A.B. 1611 by state Assemblymember David Chiu and state Sen. Scott Wiener, was introduced on Monday to prevent hospitals from seeking charges that are in excess of a patient’s regular copayment or deductible, even if a hospital was out-of-network. …

Despite California’s progress on efforts to tackle the crisis, it remains a severe problem for hospital patients nationally. Other states, like New York, Oregon, Illinois, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, and Maryland have also passed comprehensive laws to protect consumers from surprise billing practices, according to research from The Commonwealth Fund. They noted that 16 other states have passed partial protections, but despite recent legislative progress in these states, most consumers across the country are not protected from surprise billing practices.

The organization Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) has been working to give patients across the country a voice while ensuring they have access to high-quality care. Surprise billing practices are an issue they have taken on as they have watched trends in health care become more focused on cost than quality.

'Over the last 5 years, hospital billing has become much more complex, specifically the arrangement between hospitals and insurers. These big players have really focused on figuring out how to lower their costs from their balance sheets and send them back to consumers. Surprise medical bills are a good example of how hospitals and insurers are leveraging any tool at their disposal to advance their own interests,' said CQC Board Member Jason Resendez.

Jason Resendez continued, 'This is a culmination of a lot of efforts to roll back quality care and the ACA. We are seeing state Medicaid waivers getting approved that implement strict Medicaid work requirements. We’re also seeing the allowance of things like short-term, limited-duration coverage, which are basically junk plans that are cheap but then the care that you get under this plan is really weak and really not worth much in the long run. And so really surprise medical bills are a part of that trend, a part of that trend really focusing on cost over quality.'

CQC released a poll that highlighted the frustration that health care consumers nationwide are experiencing."

Read the full article here.

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