Legislation Builds on Efforts led by Senator Hassan to End the Practice of Surprise Medical Billing for Granite Staters and all Americans
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), along with a group of their colleagues, in introducing the Stop COVID-19 Test Surprise Medical Bills Act to protect Granite Staters and all Americans from unanticipated COVID-19 test charges. The measure clarifies that insurers cannot refuse to cover medically necessary tests, directs federal health officials to help ensure providers and insurers understand how to submit claims to protect patients from surprise bills, and strengthens price transparency requirements. The legislation builds on Senator Hassan’s efforts to end the practice of surprise medical billing, including by leading a bipartisan group of her colleagues in introducing the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act to end this practice.
“Public health experts have been clear: widespread COVID-19 testing is one of the best tools that we have to manage this public health crisis,” Senator Hassan said. “This testing is only effective if everyone who needs to get tested can, which is why we must ensure that Granite Staters aren’t discouraged from getting tested by the prospect of a surprise medical bill. I will continue working to end surprise medical bills for all medical expenses, and urge my colleagues to join me in eliminating this absurd practice.”
“When Congress passed legislation to require that health insurers cover the cost of COVID-19 testing without copays, we meant it. When insurers carve out coverage of COVID-19 testing if an individual does not have a doctor’s order and is not yet exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, it creates a barrier to care. During this public health emergency, that is the last thing we want Americans to experience. Anyone who needs a test should have access to a test, full stop.” said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation will help ensure that Americans can get the COVID-19 testing they need, as we fight to get this crisis under control.”
Federal law currently requires public health insurance programs and private health insurance plans to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests and related office visits without imposing cost sharing, even for the uninsured. But unfortunately Americans are still getting stuck with medical bills for their COVID-19 tests.
Senator Hassan recently led her colleagues, including Senator Shaheen, in raising concerns about individuals being charged for COVID-19 diagnostic tests.