MedBen Senior Vice President Caroline Fraker visited Washington, D.C. with fellow members of the Society of Professional Benefit Administrators (SPBA) Board of Directors on April 23, to speak with House Committee on Education and Labor officials on the subject of “surprise billing.”
“We spoke with staffers of both Democrat and Republican representatives,” Fraker said. “There’s a bipartisan consensus to find a solution to people getting unexpected medical bills.”
Surprise billing often takes the form of undisclosed out-of-network fees, such as a bill from a non-network anesthesiologist performing in an in-network hospital. Both political parties are calling for greater transparency in hospital pricing practices.
Fraker noted the committee is considering various ideas, including arbitration for surprise bills over a certain dollar amount. “Big mistake,” she said. “Arbitration takes time and causes backlogs.”
One proposal Fraker thinks does have potential is requiring that any physician performing a service in an in-network hospital must agree to bill per the network contract. “We agreed it makes practical sense that a provider working in a network facility be paid as a member of that network,” she said.
The SPBA serves as a non-political resource to help legislators and other officials make informed decisions about self-funding matters. Fraker, a 30-plus year veteran of employee benefits, joined the SPBA Board in 2015.
MedBen clients who would like to discuss health care price transparency are welcome to contact Fraker at 800-851-0907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.