TMA Signs on to Letter Calling for Congress to Fix Balance Billing

February 8, 2019

The Tennessee Medical Association has joined the American Medical Association and a number of other state medical societies and national healthcare advocacy groups in calling for Congress to address the issue of patients receiving surprise medical bills.

In a letter submitted to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee this week, the signatories call for Congress to consider a number of policies to give relief to patients when their health plans do not cover healthcare costs.

Among the priorities is addressing the root cause of the balance billing issue – the trend of health plans’ narrow networks – by creating and enforcing network adequacy at the state and federal levels. Other priorities include limiting patients’ financial responsibility for out-of-network charges, increasing transparency about coverage prior to service, and keeping patients out of payment negotiations between healthcare providers and insurance companies.

TMA has led previous efforts to find a reasonable solution in Tennessee as the General Assembly looks for ways to address the issue. TMA wants to protect physicians’ rights to get fairly compensated for services they provide out of a health plan network while remaining fair to patients who are caught between their health plan and their physician. TMA will continue defending physicians’ rights if legislation is filed by other stakeholders in 2019.