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 health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a healthcare facility that is not in your health plan’s network.
“Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that have not 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 higher 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 cannot control who is involved in your care, for example, 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.
1. Emergency services
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 and coinsurance). You cannot be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you are in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services.
2. 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 there 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 intensives services. These providers cannot 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 cannot balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.
You are never required to give up your protection from balance billing. You also are not required to get care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.
3. Additional protections under Colorado State Law (applicable to Colorado-Based Health Plans only):
4. When balance billing is not allowed, you also have the following protections:
Your health plan generally must:
If you believe you have been wrongly billed, please contact Intermountain Health Customer Service at 1-866-665-2636.
If we are unable to resolve your complaint, you may contact the No Surprises Helpdesk at 1-800-985-3059.
Please visit https://www.cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers for more information about your rights under Federal law.