Surprise billing, also called surprise out-of-network balance billing, is a common problem when, through no fault of their own, families receive medical treatment from an out-of-network provider. The surprise comes in the form of doctor bills for the difference between what a provider charges and what the insurer pays that provider. Congress is currently considering legislation to address this problem for families all over the country. This piece describes the legislation under consideration in Congress and Families USA’s recommendations for a Congressional fix to this problem.
The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy went into effect on April 6, separating children from parents who arrive without documentation—including those legally seeking asylum--at the U.S. border. Between April 19 and May 31, 2018, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents under the new policy. Although not the first administration to separate immigrant children from their parents, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy means that the practice of separating families has grown dramatically and will continue to grow, overwhelming an already precarious system, with devastating consequences for children, families, neighborhoods, and communities across the country.
What we know without a doubt is that separating children from their parents is harmful to children, traumatic for families and goes against our basic American values. This Trump administration must stop this cruel practice and instead put the best interest of children and families ahead of its own political agenda. The president can and should immediately end this practice of family separation.
On April 18, 2019, the Trump Administration finalized the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020 (NBPP). This rule will govern health insurance marketplaces and set the framework for insurance companies to propose plans and premium rates for 2020. Consumer advocates achieved several important victories in the final 2020 NBPP. Contrarily, the final rule also establishes harmful changes that will decrease access to high-quality, affordable coverage and care for families across the country.
On July 9, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear oral arguments in the case Texas v. United States. This case threatens access to health care and financial security for millions of Americans. In December 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor issued a dangerous ruling that would strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), including provisions that:
Health and Health Care in 2019 Legislative Sessions: States Step Up on Public Options, Coverage, Drug Pricing, and More
On March 26, 2019, the chairs of three House committees with jurisdiction over core health care issues jointly introduced legislation that would lower health care costs for millions of people. The "Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act of 2019," would: increase financial assistance for families who buy their own insurance, without help from Medicaid, Medicare, or an employer; protect people with preexisting conditions by repealing Trump administration policies that sabotage the safe operation of insurance markets; and take other steps to help consumers understand and sign up for coverage.
While these waivers are related to private health insurance, there are several ways these waivers could affect Medicaid and CHIP coverage. This analysis describes how new federal guidance on these waivers provides some guardrails designed to protect the Medicaid and CHIP populations.
The Supreme Court case that will be decided in June threatens the health coverage of millions of Americans.
Exchange directors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and insurers have an enormous opportunity to help consumers choose the plan that is right for them and make the enrollment process more efficient by improving the display of plan information on marketplace websites.