A medical emergency can happen anywhere at any time. Let’s say you’re at your in-law’s house for Thanksgiving. You try to help by removing the turkey from the oven and you severely burn yourself. Your mother-in-law calls for an ambulance and you find yourself at a hospital that is not in your insurance coverage’s network. The last thing you want to think about in an emergency is an astronomical bill but that is exactly what can happen at an out-of-network hospital.
Fortunately, our current administration has passed the No Surprises Act that took effect on January 1, 2022.
What does the No Surprises Act mean for you?
The No Surprises Act is a nationwide bill that bans out-of-network charges for emergency care. Specifically, the bill covers:
- Services by out-of-network hospitals
- Urgent care centers
- Free-standing emergency rooms
- Air ambulances/life flights
The No Surprises Act does not cover:
- Ground ambulance services
What if you don’t have insurance?
The No Surprises Act is designed to help manage medical bills for both the insured and the uninsured. Those who are uninsured need to obtain a good faith estimate of expected charges for emergency and non-emergency medical services prior to treatment when possible. The estimate should include costs for:
- Lab services
- Pre/post-operative services
- Telehealth services
- Durable medical equipment
The start date and end date of the services must be listed. Make sure that you take a picture or receive a copy of your good faith estimate.
Despite the positive changes the No Surprises Act is bound to bring, it doesn’t really help with the massive amount of medical debt that regular Americans are already facing. Those bills won’t simply go away. If you’re struggling under a pile of medical debt, it may be time to explore your options for relief, including bankruptcy.