America's Health Insurance Plans filed an amicus curiae brief in support of HHS in an ongoing lawsuit from the Association of Air Medical Services, a trade association representing air ambulance providers.
The Nov. 16 lawsuit alleged a No Surprises Act provision forces air ambulance providers to accept "deflated rates." While supporting the act's goals broadly, the lawsuit argues the current dispute resolution process could have "disastrous consequences" for air ambulance providers.
The AHIP amicus brief argues that air ambulance providers — between 69 percent and 75 percent of which are out-of-network — benefit from surprise medical bills, which the No Surprises Act clamps down on.
"Air ambulance providers have leveraged that out-of-network status — and the associated ability, until now, to send surprise bills to patients — to extract large payments from patients with commercial insurance," AHIP said in the brief. "Seventy percent of air ambulance revenue comes from the roughly 30 percent of their transports that are covered by commercial insurance, with privately insured patients and their health insurance providers paying more than double the cost of services — by even the industry’s estimate."
The amicus brief is the second time AHIP has supported HHS in the face of challenges to the No Surprises Act.