New Bill Would Protect Veterans From Surprise Medical Bills Following Emergency Care

New Bill Would Protect Veterans From Surprise Medical Bills Following Emergency Care

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
May 23, 2024

US Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) recently filed legislation to shield Veterans from unexpected medical bills during their time receiving emergency care.

The Emergency Community Care Notification Time Adjustment Act would extend the current deadline for notifying the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) of emergency treatment.

Veterans and their families are currently required to notify the VA of any emergency care services received from a healthcare facility outside of the VA within 72 hours of admittance.

Veterans who fail to notify the VA of external emergency care received prior to the current deadline could lose eligibility for VA-coverage of expenses arising from such emergency care.

Loss of coverage can force recovering veterans and their families to foot astronomical medical bills reaching into the tens and hundreds of thousands.

Representative Mast’s bill would extend the deadline from 72 hours of admittance to 72 hours after discharge.

Mast claimed the deadline extension will allow veterans and their families to focus on their health and recovery, instead of immediately having to worry about navigating the VA bureaucracy.

“When you or your loved one is facing a health emergency, the last thing on your mind is filling out a form for the VA, but under the status quo, that’s an oversight that could cost you thousands of dollars in surprise medical bills,” said Mast. “Our bill is a simple fix that will help veterans receive the care they earned and deserve.”

Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) coauthored the bill.

Representative Bilirakis underscored how Veterans’ in the midst of a medical emergency should be solely focused on getting well.

Bilirakis stated ”(Veterans) should not have to worry about how the provider will get reimbursed by the VA or be saddled with fears of getting stuck with the bill.”

Late last month, the VA came under fire after a damning report outlined systemic errors in the institution’s process for vetting healthcare providers.

The report found the Veterans’ Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration failed to properly identify and exclude ineligible health care providers.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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