- The Government announced a new plan to address the medical bad debt that is affecting Americans.
- HHS will require data from providers on medical bill collection practices, lawsuits against patients, and more.
- For the first time, HHS will weigh this information in their grant making decisions.
The Biden Administration released a four-point plan to increase consumer protection and drive actions to lessen the burden of medical debt. This plan builds on President Biden´s recent executive order to increase access to affordable healthcare coverage.
The key areas covered in this plan are oriented to:
- Hold medical providers and debt collectors accountable for harmful practices.
- Improve government underwriting practices.
- Support veterans in financial hardship.
- Help consumers know their rights.
HHS will require billing practices information from providers
Regarding medical providers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will evaluate how their billing practices impact access and affordability of care and the accrual of medical bad debt. This evaluation will be made to identify and eliminate predatory and aggressive billing behaviors.
According to the White House release, providers have a responsibility to offer non-predatory payment plans or financial assistance to all eligible patients.
Therefore, HHS will require data from more than 2,000 providers on:
- Medical bill collection practices.
- Lawsuits against patients.
- Financial assistance.
- Financial product offerings.
- Third-party contracting.
- Debt buying practices.
For the first time, the HHS will weigh this information in their grantmaking decisions, publish topline data and policy recommendations for the public. They will also share potential violations with the relevant enforcement agencies of jurisdiction.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will investigate credit reporting companies and debt collectors. This will be made to identify patients’ and families’ rights violations and hold violators accountable. In addition, the CFPB issued a bulletin to prevent unlawful medical debt collection and reporting.
Read more about the plan and the implications for medical practices and patients on The White House website.
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