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Health care providers are swamping the government with billing disputes under the new law that bans surprise medical bills. So far, just 4% have ended in payment. 

That’s according to the Biden administration’s progress report on the No Surprises Act’s so-called independent dispute resolution (IDR) process, in which mediators help out-of-network providers and insurers decide appropriate payment amounts for services. So far, the government is fielding a much higher volume of requests than expected, mostly related to emergency services. Health care providers, air ambulance providers, and companies working for them submitted about 90,000 out-of-network payment disputes between April 15 and Sept. 30, far more than the roughly 17,000 anticipated in a full year. 


Also exceeding expectations is the complexity of the cases and the time it’s taking to reach resolutions, which has led to a severe backlog of disputes awaiting resolution. Of the roughly 23,000 cases closed so far, mediators made payment determinations in about 3,600 — 4% of the 90,000 submissions.

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