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Ending Surprise Medical Billing: A Policy That Started in the States

We’ve all been there. In a medical emergency you see a new doctor at your regular doctor’s practice. Or, your doctor refers you to another medical provider for a test or an outpatient procedure. Weeks later, you get a large bill in the mail, due to unexpected out-of-network costs.

Well, no more!

Thanks to a new federal law, surprise medical billing, particularly for out-of-network emergency costs, is now illegal in the United States.

Our public health system and economy continue to be challenged by COVID-19, which helped propel Congress to act on this bipartisan policy — introduced during the Trump years and enacted during the Biden administration.

But one big reason it was ready to go? This policy was advanced and passed in the states before becoming a federal priority.

As of December 2021, lawmakers in 18 states had already enacted the policy — including both California and Texas, which have majorities on opposite ends of the political spectrum – and 12 others had introduced it!

And states are still taking the lead to protect consumers, with 11 already filling in a federal gap on banning surprise medical bills from ambulance services.

Everything we care about, every policy that improves our lives, starts in the states. And that’s why we work with people like you to connect the importance of state legislatures to every aspect of our lives.