Hospitals Can't Send Patients 'Surprise' Bills for COVID-19 Treatment

April 10, 2020

Out-of-network hospitals receiving CARES Act financial relief will not be allowed to balance bill patients treated for COVID-19 who are covered by employer health plans, self-purchased insurance, public programs, or are uninsured.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “The Trump administration is committed to ensuring all Americans are not surprised by the cost related to testing and treatment they need for COVID-19.” 

Not yet clear how the ban on “surprise” medical bills would apply to out-of-network ancillary providers at in-network hospitals that treat patients for COVID-19.  

Nor is it clear what the reimbursement rates will be for out-of-network hospitals and providers.

Surprise billing fix in Phase IV?  Top Republicans on two congressional committees are leading an effort to include surprise billing provisions in a future COVID-19 response bill, which still faces substantial headwinds despite being ranked as a major priority before the pandemic.