Federal Government Takes Action to Protect COVID-19 Patients from Surprise Billing
NOVI, MI – April 3, 2020 – The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM), a nonprofit group comprised of Michigan’s largest employers and unions, strongly supports the protection of uninsured Americans who are being treated for COVID-19 from surprise medical bills announced this evening by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing. For uninsured patients the government will pay for treatment and reimburse medical services related to the coronavirus at negotiated Medicare rates.
“We appreciate that the administration is protecting hard-working Americans who may have recently lost their employer-sponsored health plan and are ill due to this pandemic that has gripped the world,” said Bret Jackson, president, EAM. “These Americans are already weakened financially and receiving a surprise medical bill would be a dagger for their future. We urge Congress to extend these same protections to active workers and their employers.”
According to a recent study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five patients who undergo elective surgery will incur unexpected medical bills. EAM, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, and dozens of other labor, business and consumer groups have advocated for Congress to adopt market based or Medicare plus solutions to address the issue. With thousands of patients converging on hospitals around the country to seek treatment for the coronavirus, it is imperative that they are protected from this horrific practice.
“It’s unconscionable for a grocery store clerk, truck driver, or first responder who contracts the virus and requires treatment to end up with a surprise medical bill later,” said Jackson. “When Congress reconvenes, we hope ending surprise medical billing for all Americans is a top priority.”