On February 23, 2022, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas invalidated portions of Part II of the interim final rule (“IFR”) issued by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury (“Tri-Agencies”), implementing the dispute resolution provisions of the No Surprises Act (“NSA”). While the ruling in the case, Texas Medical Association v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, may impact medical plan costs, it does not substantively affect the consumer protections against surprise medical billing added by the NSA, which took effect in 2022.
The No Surprises Act (the “NSA”), which was signed into law at the end of 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, is designed to protect consumers from unexpected medical bills. The NSA generally applies to group health plans, healthcare providers, and health insurance issuers. The NSA is expected to have significant and far-reaching impacts on the health industry, so it is imperative that group health plan sponsors take steps to implement regulatory guidance on the NSA as it is issued.