WASHINGTON (AP) President Joe Biden on Friday launched a new set of initiatives to reduce health care costs: a crackdown on scam insurance plans, new guidelines to prevent surprise medical bills, and an effort to reduce medical-related debt to credit cards.
Bidens’ remarks will build previous initiatives to limit health care costs, with the Department of Health and Human Services releasing new estimates showing 18.7 million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will save about $400 a year on drug costs prescription in 2025 due to the fact that the president placed a limit on pocket-spending as part of the last few years Inflation Reduction Act.
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Republican lawmakers have criticized Biden’s policies saying they spurred higher prices that hurt household well-being.
The Biden administration plans to limit what it calls junk insurance plans, such as short-term policies that can deny basic coverage when people switch from one employer to another and still need temporary health coverage.
Neera Tanden, director of the White House Home Policy Council, highlighted the case of a man in Montana who received a $43,000 health care bill because his insurer claimed his cancer was a pre-existing condition.
This isn’t real insurance, it’s junk insurance, Tanden told reporters during a preview phone call of Biden’s remarks. We will propose legislation to crack down on these plans.
The president also announced new guidelines on medical billing starting in the 1920s Law without surprises. The guidance would limit the ability of insurers who contract with hospitals to require care provided to be out-of-network and for customers to pay more. Health plans should also disclose facility fees that are increasingly being billed to patients and can emerge as an unexpected cost on a medical bill.
Frankly, what they’re doing is playing with the system, that’s not allowed, Tanden said.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department are also looking for information about third-party credit cards and loans used specifically to pay for health care. Higher costs and interest can discourage people in need of care from seeking care.
The president is also expected to highlight previous efforts to reduce health care costs, including a plan that allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and a $35 monthly cap on insulin for people in Medicare Part B
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