Harrisburg, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman highlighted the balance billing protections in the COVID-19 Relief Bill. Recognizing the significance of the legislation and the relief for consumers, the commissioner issued the following statement:
"The passage of balance billing protections is a long-overdue victory for Pennsylvania's insurance consumers. For too long, consumers have been stuck in the middle of a debate between millionaires and billionaires, with consumers footing unaffordable surprise medical bills. The disagreement over how much an insurance company should reimburse an out-of-network provider for services is not one that should be a consumer's responsibility to negotiate.
"All-in-all, this is a good reform, that will benefit insurance policyholders. The fact that the legislation extends surprise billing protections to those consumers served by an air ambulance is truly significant. Air ambulance company rates and charges have been imposed on unsuspecting consumers under the guise that a state is preempted by federal law from taking a stand against excessive costs. The PID has sought to mediate consumer complaints against air ambulance charges that could have otherwise bankrupted families and this legislation will make sure the consumer is not billed in the first place.
"The legislation is not a perfect solution to this complex, national problem. State and federal lawmakers have struggled for years to reach a compromise solution and this legislation will take consumers out of the middle of a financial negotiation between sophisticated entities while also preserving a state's ability to pursue additional safeguards. I commend Congress for taking this important step."