New consumer protection law will forbid ‘surprise’ medical bills to patients

“No Surprises Act” outlaws unexpected charges from out-of-network providers.
A patient in a hospital

A new law going into effect on Saturday forbids medical providers from issuing “surprise” charges to patients using out-of-network services.

The “No Surprises Act,” passed in late 2020, offers consumers “new billing protections when getting emergency care, non-emergency care from out-of-network providers at in-network facilities, and air ambulance services from out-of-network providers,” according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Assistant Director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy Loren Adler told CNN that the law represents “one of the biggest consumer protections to pass in recent decades.”

Some hospital groups have disputed parts of the law, arguing that it unfairly privileges insurance companies in disputes between insurers and providers. 

The law is expected to have a modest effect in decreasing premiums throughout the country.