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'No Surprises Act' Goes In Effect As Patients Receive Protections From Surprise Medical Bills

BALTIMORE, MD (WJZ) -- The No Surprises Act went into effect Saturday across the country, offering consumers protection from surprise billing after receiving out-of-network emergency care.

Surprise billing occurs when a patient ends up visiting a hospital that outside of their health insurance plan, through no fault of their own.

Some of the services covered under the act include emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist and intensivist services.

The bill will also protect those being treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center.

"Our office has received complaints for many years from consumers faced with unfair and financially devastating surprise medical bills," Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.  "The No Surprises Act ensures consumers can obtain medical care without the fear of getting a surprise bill through no fault of their own."

The act will also require medical professionals to give "Good Faith Estimates", which mandates that providers and facilities must inform patients how much treatment will cost in advance.

These protections in the No Surprises Act will not apply to those who have Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Services, Veterans Affairs Health Care, or TRICARE coverage, given that they already have protections against medical bills built-in to their program.

For more information on the No Surprises Act, check out the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.

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