No Surprises Act
The No Surprises Act protects consumers who are insured through individual or group health plans, as well as those that are uninsured, from receiving healthcare bills larger than expected. Beginning January 1, 2022, these rules will:
- Ban surprise billing for emergency services. Emergency services, even if they’re provided out-of-network, must be covered at an in-network rate without requiring prior authorization.
- Ban balance billing and out-of-network cost-sharing (like out-of-network co-insurance or copayments) for emergency and certain non-emergency services. In these situations, the consumer’s cost for the service cannot be higher than if these services were provided by an in-network provider, and any coinsurance or deductible must be based on in-network provider rates.
- Ban out-of-network charges and balance billing for ancillary care (like an anesthesiologist or assistant surgeon) by out-of-network providers at an in-network facility.
- Ban certain other out-of-network charges and balance billing without advance notice. Health care providers and facilities must provide consumers with a plain-language consumer notice explaining that patient consent is required to get care on an out-of-network basis before that provider can bill the consumer.
- Allow for patients who do not have insurance to request a Good Faith Estimate regarding the cost of their healthcare before they are seen.
The rules don’t apply to people with coverage through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Services, Veterans Affairs Health Care, or TRICARE because these programs have other protections against high medical bills.
Good Faith Estimate
You have the right to receive a “Good Faith Estimate” explaining how much your medical care will cost.
Under the law, health care providers need to give patients who don’t have insurance or who are not using insurance an estimate of the bill for medical items and services.
You have the right to receive a Good Faith Estimate for the total expected cost of any non-emergency items or services. This includes related costs like medical tests, prescription drugs, equipment, and hospital fees.
Make sure your health care provider gives you a Good Faith Estimate in writing at least one business day before your medical service or item. You can also ask your healthcare provider, and any other provider you choose, for a Good Faith Estimate before you schedule an item or service.
If you receive a bill that is at least $400 more than your Good Faith Estimate, you can dispute the bill.
Make sure to save a copy or picture of your Good Faith Estimate.
For questions or more information about your right to a Good Faith Estimate, visit www.cms.gov/nosurprises or call 1-800-985-3059
Your Rights & Protections
Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills
When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in- network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.
What is “balance billing” (sometimes called “surprise billing”)?
When you see a doctor or other healthcare provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a healthcare facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network.
“Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan. Out-of-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan agreed to pay 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 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.
You are protected from balance billing for:
If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of- network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments, deductibles and/or coinsurance). 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 may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers may 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 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 care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.
When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have the following protections:
You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in- network). Your health plan will pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly.
Your health plan generally must:
- Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (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 deductible and out-of-pocket limit.
If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may file a complaint with the federal government at https://www.cms.gov/medical-bill-rights or by calling 1-800-985- 3059.
You may also file a complaint with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner at https://www.insurance.wa.gov/complaints-appeals or by calling 1-800-562-6900.
Visit https://www.cms.gov/medical-bill-rights for more information about your rights under federal law.
Visit https://www.insurance.wa.gov/protections-surprise-medical-billing for more information about your rights under Washington state law.
From Our Patients
Absolutely love this place, this is my second pregnancy at this clinic with provider Melanie Jenson, and I cannot say enough good things about her as well as the staff! The nurses as well as the providers are always so attentive and willing to answer any questions you have as well as going the extra mile. I’ve called multiple times with both pregnancies on their after hours lines and have always received a call immediately back and putting me at ease as well as having me come in the following day. Dr. Melanie provides 10/10 care and I recommend her to all expecting mothers. She makes every appointment enjoyable and makes sure I am always taken care of. Getting into the clinic was such a smooth process, they handled everything.
Love this clinic!
Kimberly HeidenreichJanuary 21, 2023
My pregnancy journey was nothing short of amazing! Melanie Jensen was my midwife and made sure I was well taken care of and was thoroughly informed on everything that was going on. She always made me feel like if I had any questions I could openly ask.
Definitely recommend this practice!
Sarah BarbeeNovember 18, 2023
I recommend this office to anyone who will listen. Being newer to the area, I had to go through the annoying process of finding all new doctors and I’m so happy I went with Kitsap OBGYN. I’ve never felt rushed, treated like just another number or embarrassed to ask any questions.
Dr. Swenson was my primary physician for both my sons and each delivery was everything I wanted. At times, I was given the option to see the midwife on staff (forgot her name, sorry!) when my doctor wasn’t available and even those appointments were perfect.
After 2 pregnancies and almost 3 years of regular checkups, ending my child bearing journey was a little emotional. It’s not often you get such great care that you see your doctor and team as more than just medical care. I appreciate you all and special shoutout to Allison for being AWESOME! You made this period of my life one that I’ll always look back on fondly.