Last winter, Congress abruptly passed a Surprise Billing law, that will substantially regulate payments between insurers, patients, and out-of-network providers beginning in CY2022. (Overview here.)
CMS issued the first round of implementing regulations for comment in July (here). Article about the July rule here. AHA letter on the initial surprise billing rule here.
On September 10, HHS released a second round of regulations, which appear to focus on topics like air ambulance, and ways that CMS itself can enforce surprise billing payment rules if states do not do so adequately. It also addresses another corner of the law, in which consumers get transparency about how insurance brokers are compensated.
Press release here.
Regulation home page here. Comment to October 18.
(30 days comment; the earlier rule had 60 days.)
PDF here (86 FR 71530, 9/16/21).
Air Ambulance fact sheet here.
In September 2020, CMS announced a program that was controlling payments for air ambulance billing and had saved $650M in 4 years (acronym RSNAT). Here.
In the new press release, HHS notes that the air ambulance industry is highly consolidated. You would expect that; you wouldn't expect multiple competing firms to each have little market shares and high costs while maintaining aircraft and pilots on-call 24/7.