If there's an end in sight for big, surprising hospital bills, employers likely would need to be part of the solution. But, as Axios' Bob Herman reports this morning, they don't support some prominent proposals to rein in surprise billing.
Where things stand: Analysts at the Brookings Institution have suggested fixes that would force health care providers and the purchasers of care (employers and insurers) to agree on a couple things:
- Patients should not be on the hook for surprise bills that are tied to emergencies, nor should they have to pay for care they receive at in-network hospitals where a specific doctor, like an anesthesiologist or a surgeon, turns out to be out-of-network.
- Regulators should cap how much hospitals, doctors and others can charge in certain situations, and legislation should force fair arbitration when providers and insurers/employers can't agree.
Yes, but: Providers loathe the idea of having their payments regulated, and employers aren't keen about being forced into a dispute resolution process.
The bottom line: Provider regulation — like outlawing balance billing for emergency care or requiring all doctors at in-network facilities to accept in-network rates — is probably the most direct way to solve this issue.
- One compromise that could neuter surprise billing by reining in providers is all-payer rate setting, but corporate America isn't championing it.