As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the “No Surprises Act” is a piece of legislation passed in the United States. It’s part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. It addresses the issue of surprise medical billing. Particularly in situations where patients receive unexpected bills for out-of-network care.
Here are key points about the No Surprises Act and its importance for mental health professionals. For example: therapists, psychologists, relationship coaches etc.):
- Surprise Medical Billing: The No Surprises Act aims to protect patients from unexpected and often exorbitant bills. Those that comes when they receive medical care, including mental health services, from out-of-network providers. Surprise billing typically occurs when patients receive care. More often at an in-network facility but treated by an out-of-network provider without their knowledge or consent.
- Prohibition of Surprise Billing: The Act prohibits out-of-network providers from billing patients for amounts beyond what the patient would have owed. Especially if the care had been provided by an in-network provider. Instead, the Act establishes a process for determining the payment amount between the insurer and the out-of-network provider.
- Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) Process: To resolve billing disputes between insurers and providers, the No Surprises Act introduces an Independent Dispute Resolution process. This process involves a neutral third party who reviews the case and makes a final determination on the payment amount. This is designed to protect patients from being caught in the middle of billing disputes.
- Application to Therapists and Mental Health Providers: The Act applies to various healthcare providers, including therapists and mental health professionals. It is crucial for therapists because surprise billing practices can be a significant concern in the healthcare industry, and mental health services are no exception.
- Transparency Requirements: The No Surprises Act also includes provisions to enhance transparency in healthcare costs. This includes requirements for healthcare providers, including mental health providers, to provide clear and accessible information about their services, fees, and insurance networks.
Therapists and mental health professionals should be aware of these provisions to ensure compliance with the law. And to protect their clients from unexpected financial burdens associated with out-of-network care. It’s essential to stay informed about any updates or changes to healthcare legislation, as the landscape may evolve over time. Additionally, for the most current information, we advise mental health professionals consult legal or healthcare professionals familiar with the latest developments in healthcare policy.
To learn more about the act, you may visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call 1-877-696-6775.