Ground Ambulance Surprise Billing Committee Will Back Rate Setting, Medicare On-Site Coverage

A panel of experts will recommend in a formal report to Congress that ground ambulance-related balance bills should be settled using a rate-setting benchmark rather than arbitration, according to one member of the panel; in addition, the report will recommend that Medicare should begin to cover care that is delivered by ambulance personnel but does not result in a hospital transport. The report is under review by CMS, and is expected to kick off another battle on Capitol Hill over surprise billing policy.

Balance or surprise billing generally occurs when a person unwittingly receives care from an out-of-network provider and is then billed by that provider for whatever balance remains after insurance reimbursement. According to a member of the panel, the report will recommend that balance bills for ground ambulance care should be banned in virtually all circumstances, including emergency transports to a hospital, interfacility transports and care delivered by EMTs in the field that does not result in a transport to a hospital.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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