No Surprises Act

The No Surprises Act Explained…

The No Surprises Act became effective January 1, 2022. One of the things it does is it protects patients from surprise bills for emergency services at out-of-network facilities or out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, holding them liable only for in-network cost-sharing amounts. It applies to most commercial insurance plans. It does not apply to government plans like Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare because these plans have balance billing protections in place already.

Billing Disclosures – Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

What is “balance billing” (also known as “surprise billing”)?

When you see a health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or be required to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network.

Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health insurance. Out-of-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan pays, and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit.

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care–like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider.

You are protected from balance billing for emergency services:

If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments and coinsurance). You cannot

be balance billed for these emergency services This includes services you may get after you're in stable condition unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services.

Additionally, Missouri protects patients from surprise medical bills for health care services provided at an in-network facility from an out-of-network provider from the time the patient presents with an emergency medical condition until the patient is discharged.

Copayment: is a defined dollar amount a patient pays for medical expenses. With many health plans, a patient pays 100 percent of costs out-of-pocket until they have met their deductible. After meeting the deductible, a patient pays a copayment (often shortened to “copay”).

Deductible: The amount you pay for covered health care services before your insurance plan starts to pay. With a $2,000 deductible, for example, you pay the first $2,000 of covered services yourself. After you pay your deductible, you usually pay only a copayment or coinsurance for covered services.

Coinsurance: Your share of the costs of a covered health care service, calculated as a percentage (for example, 20%) of the allowed amount for the service. If you have met your $500 deductible and now have a $300.00 bill = $60.00 coinsurance for you to pay.

If Boone Health is In-Network with your Insurance Plan

When you get services from an in-network hospital, certain providers may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and cannot ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed.

If you get other services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

Additionally, Missouri law requires that patients pay only their in-network cost sharing amounts. These protections apply to any patient covered by a state regulated insurance plan but does not apply to a liability insurance policy, workers’ compensation insurance policy, or medical payments insurance issued as a supplement to a liability policy.

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have the following protections:

  • You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly.
  • Your health plan generally must:
    • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (prior authorization).
    • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers.
    • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits.
    • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your deductible and out-of-pocket limit.

For information regarding providers that are in-network with your insurance, please visit the website on your insurance card or call the number on the back of your card.

If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact:

  • Boone Health 1-888-538-1535
  • The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers for more information about your rights under federal law.
  • The Missouri Department of Insurance at 800-726-7390 or visit https://insurance.mo.gov/consumers/complaints/index.php for more information.

Good Faith Estimate

Under the law, healthcare providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the bill for medical items and services.

  • You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected cost of any non-emergency items or services. This includes related costs like medical tests, prescription drugs, equipment, and hospital fees.
  • Make sure your healthcare provider gives you a Good Faith Estimate in writing at least one business day before your medical service or item. You can also ask your healthcare provider, and any other provider you choose, for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule an item or service.
  • If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you can dispute the bill.
  • Make sure to save a copy or picture of your Good Faith Estimate. 

Get More Information:

Boone Health Customer Service 1-888-538-1535

Or click the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) button below!