North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread has been nominated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to serve as the state insurance regulator on the national Air Ambulance and Patient Billing Advisory Committee, the state’s insurance department announced.
This committee, which was recently created by Congress, will review options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services and protect consumers from balance billing.
Godfread said the committee will address the “critical issue of air ambulance balance billing practices.” He added he hopes the “committee can craft meaningful recommendations that will allow Congress to take action and greatly reduce or eliminate the practice of surprise, balance billing for air ambulance transports.”
The commissioner’s nomination comes after a federal judge issued a split decision regarding a consumer protection law enacted by the state during the 2017 legislative session.
The law protects consumers with health insurance from receiving balance bills from air ambulances, prohibits air ambulance subscription agreements from being sold and requires hospitals to inform patients in non-emergency situations about which air ambulances have contractual agreements with the patient’s health insurance company so patients can make informed decisions about which air ambulance company they should use.
The decision invalidated the portion of the law that protects North Dakotans from receiving balance bills from air ambulances. However, the provision requiring hospitals to inform patients in non-emergency situations about which air ambulances have contractual agreements with the patient’s health insurance company and the provision prohibiting the sale of air ambulance subscription agreements both remain valid and enforceable by law.
Godfread said he was “extremely disappointed with the court’s decision.” He said legal options are being reviewed and a plan is being created for how to respond to the ruling.
“Despite this setback, I will continue to fight to protect North Dakotans from receiving these unfair and unreasonable bills that in many cases lead to financial ruin,” Godfread said in the insurance department’s announcement.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.