07 Jan Surprise Medical Bills, Crash Checklist, Covid Christmas
Welcome to the Newsletter
Rana Law Group Newsletter
In this issue:
- Surprise Medical Bills Banned
- What to Do If You are in an Automobile Crash
- COVID Christmas
Surprise Medical Bills to be Banned (kind of)
Included in the $900 billion spending bill recently passed by Congress is a ban on surprise medical billing (except for ground ambulances) starting in 2022. This is welcome news given the uncertainty people face when seeking medical care. For instance, besides a bill from the emergency room, there could also be a bill from an emergency physician group doctor, anesthesiologist or radiologist. The issue is that the non-emergency room bills may be “out of network” and a person’s health insurance may not cover most or any of the bill, leaving the remainder not paid by health insurance as the patient’s responsibility (known as balance billing). Starting in 2022, patients will only be responsible for deductibles and copays they would normally pay for in-network treatment. The medical providers will then have to work with the health insurance company to come to an agreement on an agreeable rate or go to dispute resolution. For those uninsured, the Department of Health and Human Services will create a bill dispute resolution process.
Transparency in medical billing is long overdue and this is a great start to curbing this predatory practice. Medicare is currently looking at the reimbursement rates for ambulances, which will likely lead Congress to revisit the exemption they provided ground ambulances since this data will be readily available. I look forward to Congress continuing their efforts to tackle this problem impacting so many people.
What to Do If You Are in an Automobile Crash
I had the opportunity to unwind during the holiday break with a couple of three-day weekends. For Christmas, my wife and I went down to the country to spend time with family. In order to socially distance, we stayed in a trailer, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation style, and made big roaring fires during the day to stay warm. We went on a hike and were treated to a field of frost flowers. It was the first time I’ve ever encountered them and they were a nice Christmas surprise.
Who in the world would turn down an invitation into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame (HOF)? David Freese, that’s who. David Freese of instant hometown hero fame when he came up clutch with his performance in the 2011 post-season. Some fans are mad at Freese, going so far as to use social media to voice their displeasure. One main reason for fan displeasure is the (erroneous) belief the HOF is for the fans, therefore, he should do this for us.
In my opinion, for everything Freese did for this fanbase, he has the right to do whatever is best for him. The St. Louis Post Dispatch had a great take on why Freese chose to decline the invite. It is worth a read for anyone who is not only a Cardinal fan but also those interested in mental health and how issues left untreated can be devastating in a person’s life. For those who do not follow baseball or want the TLDR, it ties back to his mental health/demons that surfaced from all the pressure and expectations, which in turn led to a drinking problem. Freese chose to relocate to another city, in the hopes that he could just be a regular, good hitter rather than THE hometown hero who received a standing ovation each time he came to bat. It sounds like he finally found peace and, much to the understandable disappointment of Cardinals fans, it does not currently involve such an active role with the Cardinals. Who knows, maybe one day he will be ready and, much like the way St. Louis instantly accepted Pujols return, Freese will be greeted with open arms.