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Medical bill In a win for health insurers, lawmakers appear to have watered down a measure requiring them to disclose detailed information to employers about their drug costs and rebates. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A long-discussed surprise medical billing fix will be part of the congressional budget deal that includes $900 billion in new COVID-19 relief.

“This is terrific news,” said Kim Buckey, vice president of client services for DirectPath. “Previously, there was a patchwork of 31 state-based programs that had attempted to address this issue, with some states taking a more comprehensive approach than others. And these programs only affected fully insured plans in that state and could not address air ambulances, a major source of surprise bills. The new federal legislation will apply a consistent approach to all plans, both self- and fully insured, and extend to those states who have not yet offered consumer protections against surprise bills.”

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