Independent dispute resolution should be adopted nationwide

To the Editor:

With the fall semester here, many parents have sent their children back to college campuses with COVID-19 remaining a threat. Unfortunately, many will require medical treatment while away from home, and because of the confusing nature of health insurance they may receive a surprise medical bill for denied coverage. For families already struggling financially this can prove ruinous.

As the health-care system becomes more difficult to navigate surprise medical bills are becoming increasingly common across the country. Hospitals that are deemed in-network may be staffed by physician groups that are not covered. Patients in medical distress should not have to stop their treatment to ask whether each medical professional with whom they come into contact is in-network.

The system as it exists favors the insurance companies, which are already making record profits. Hospitals and providers suffer when coverage is denied and are put in the unenviable position of eating the cost of the procedure or pursuing collections against a family who may not be able to afford it and are barely hanging on during these challenging economic times.

There is a better way, and New York State has shown it. Independent dispute resolution is an arbitration process that protects consumers from surprise medical bills and forces insurance companies and providers to work things out, holding the patient harmless and saving patients tens of millions of dollars to date in surprise medical bills.

Congress needs to reject insurance-company proposals of “rate setting” and adopt independent dispute resolution nationwide.

David Beck


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