Coronavirus: Trump Ending Surprise Medical Billing for Uninsured Americans

US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 10, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced during a White House press conference on Friday that the Trump administration will end surprise billing for Americans without health insurance.

As the Department of Labor (DOL) announced on Friday that the unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent, Azar said that the Trump administration will move to help Americans who recently lost their employment-based health insurance get access to health care.

“Getting the uninsured access to the care they need is a top priority for President Trump,” Azar said. “We are already rolling out the $1 billion in funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to cover providers’ expenses for testing and diagnosing the uninsured.”

Azar also announced that they will cover any surprise bills that may arise for getting treatment for the coronavirus. The HHS Secretary said that they banned healthcare providers from billing uninsured Americans as part of receiving funds through the $2 trillion CARES Act.

“As a condition of receiving funds under this program, providers will be forbidden from balance billing the uninsured for the cost of their care. Providers will be reimbursed at Medicare rates. We will soon have more specifics on how the rest of the $100 billion will go to providers,” he said.

Surprise medical billing serves as one of the leading issues for healthcare reform. Surprise medical bills occur when a patient sees a doctor out of his health insurance network and that doctor bills the patient for the charges that the insurer will not pay. When the health insurer and the healthcare provider cannot resolve the dispute, the patient often gets left with the bill. Azar said in February that the Trump administration is committed to passing a bipartisan, bicameral bill to end surprise medical billing.

Azar also noted that Americans that recently lost their health insurance could purchase new plans through the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.

“I would also like to remind people that if you lost employer-based coverage, you have insurance options that you should look into. You would be eligible for a special enrollment period on the healthcare exchanges, and depending on your state, you will be eligible for Medicaid,” Azar said.

A senior Trump administration official told Breitbart News that President Trump is committed to helping uninsured Americans obtain healthcare coverage.

“President Trump is committed to seeing that Americans have a broad variety of health insurance coverage options available to them, especially during this time of economic disruption,” the official said. “Americans should know that if they are temporarily unemployed, there are coverage options available to them, including COBRA and the individual Exchange, where individuals experiencing a qualifying event such as a job loss can enroll for coverage.”

“The President is also very committed to supporting the uninsured who think they may have the COVID-19 virus. With the support of the Congress, President Trump is implementing a program to cover the costs of evaluating and testing those who think they may have the virus,” the official added.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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