PLEASE NOTE: The No Surprises Act is a new federal law enacted by Congress in December 2020. As noted in this interactive, some states have laws that have protected some state residents from surprise bills. The No Surprises Act will now protect all consumers with private health insurance— including the more than 163 million people with job-based coverage — from out-of-network surprise bills in certain situations. These new protections go into effect for health plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2022. Key rules implementing the new federal law were issued in July and September 2021.
Area of FocusControlling Health Care Costs
State Balance-Billing Protections
“Balance bills” primarily occur in two circumstances: 1) when an enrollee receives emergency care either at an out-of-network facility or from an out-of-network provider, or 2) when an enrollee receives elective nonemergency care at an in-network facility but is inadvertently treated by an out-of-network health care provider. Since the insurer does not have a contract with the out-of-network facility or provider, it may decide not to pay the entirety of the bill. In that case, the out-of-network facility or provider may then bill the enrollee for the balance of the bill. While 33 states have enacted laws to protect enrollees from balance billing, the scope of these protections varies as shown in the map below. Congress enacted the No Surprises Act in 2020 to protect most people who are not currently protected under this patchwork of state laws. This federal law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.
Select a state to learn how it protects consumers against balance billing
Select a state
Click on a state to learn how it protects consumers against balance billing