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No Surprises Act

What Is The No Surprises Act?

As of Jan. 1, 2022, the No Surprises Act bans out-of-network providers and facilities from sending consumers bills for amounts beyond in-network costs and standard fees like deductibles and co-pays.

With No Surprise Billing, healthcare providers are required to provide good faith cost estimates to uninsured and self-pay patients before services are rendered. With No Surprise Billing, patients are protected from receiving surprise medical bills resulting from out of network care for emergency services and for certain scheduled services without prior patient consent. 

 

Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

Connecticut

Download or view a PDF translation pdf
 

When you get emergency care or are treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from balance billing. In these cases, you shouldn’t be charged more than your plan’s copayments, coinsurance and/or deductible. 

What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)? 

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, like a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. You may have additional costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network. 

“Out-of-network” means providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan to provide services. Out-of-network providers may be allowed to bill you for the difference between what your plan pays and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your plan’s deductible or annual out-of-pocket limit. 

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider. Surprise medical bills could cost thousands of dollars depending on the procedure or service. 

You’re protected from balance billing for: 

Emergency services 
If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most they can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services. 

Connecticut passed its own law in 2015 to address balance billing.  The law applies to health plans regulated by Connecticut’s Department of Insurance and has similar protections to those provided under the federal No Surprises Act.  For more information, see Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 38a-477aa and 20-7f or the Connecticut Department of Insurance website at:

https://portal.ct.gov/CID/General-Consumer-Information/No-Surprises-Act  

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center 
When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed. 

If you get other types of services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections. 

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get out-of-network care. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network. 

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have these protections: 

  • You’re only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductible that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay any additional costs to out-of-network providers and facilities directly. 
  • Generally, your health plan must: 
    • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (also known as “prior authorization”). 
    • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers. 
    • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits. 
    • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your in-network deductible and out-of-pocket limit.
       

If you think you’ve been wrongly billed, contact the Connecticut Department of Insurance:

https://portal.ct.gov/CID/Consumer-Affairs/File-a-Complaint-or-Ask-a-Question

or Consumer Helpline: (800) 203-3447 or (860) 297-3900 or contact The State of Connecticut Office of the Healthcare Advocate at 866-466-4446 or [email protected].  

Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website for more information about your rights under federal law. 

 

New York

Download or view a PDF translation pdf
 
When you get emergency care or are treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from balance billing. In these cases, you shouldn’t be charged more than your plan’s copayments, coinsurance and/or deductible. 

What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)? 

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, like a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. You may have additional costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network. 

“Out-of-network” means providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan to provide services. Out-of-network providers may be allowed to bill you for the difference between what your plan pays and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your plan’s deductible or annual out-of-pocket limit. 

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider. Surprise medical bills could cost thousands of dollars depending on the procedure or service. 

You’re protected from balance billing for: 

Emergency services 
If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most they can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services. 

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center 
When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed.

If you get other types of services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get out-of-network care. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have these protections: 

  • You’re only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductible that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay any additional costs to out-of-network providers and facilities directly. 
  • Generally, your health plan must:
    • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (also known as “prior authorization”). 
    • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers. 
    • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits. 
    • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your in-network deductible and out-of-pocket limit.

If you think you’ve been wrongly billed and your coverage is subject to New York law (“fully insured coverage”), contact the New York State Department of Financial Services at (800) 342-3736 or [email protected]. Visit www.dfs.ny.gov for information about your rights under state law. Contact CMS at 1-800-985-3059 for self-funded coverage or coverage bought outside New York. 

Visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers for more information about your rights under federal law. 

Rhode Island

Download or view a PDF translation pdf
 
When you get emergency care or are treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from balance billing. In these cases, you shouldn’t be charged more than your plan’s copayments, coinsurance and/or deductible. 

What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)? 

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, like a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible. You may have additional costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network. 

“Out-of-network” means providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan to provide services. Out-of-network providers may be allowed to bill you for the difference between what your plan pays and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your plan’s deductible or annual out-of-pocket limit. 

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider. Surprise medical bills could cost thousands of dollars depending on the procedure or service. 

You’re protected from balance billing for: 

Emergency services 
If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most they can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services. 

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center 
When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers can bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed. 
 
If you get other types of services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get out-of-network care. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network. 

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have these protections: 

  • You’re only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductible that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay any additional costs to out-of-network providers and facilities directly. 
  • Generally, your health plan must:
    • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (also known as “prior authorization”). 
    • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers. 
    • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits. 
    • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your in-network deductible and out-of-pocket limit.

If you think you’ve been wrongly billed visit The State of Rhode Island Insurance Division website or call 1-401-462-9520.

Visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers for more information about your rights under federal law.