Human Resources

The Washington Report

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August 5, 2020

Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team



House Passes $1.3 Trillion Spending Package
On July 31, 2020, the House passed a $1.3 trillion spending package (H.R 7617) with six appropriations bills that would provide funding for fiscal year 2021 to numerous federal departments, including the Departments of Defense, Education, Energy, Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation. The measure passed by a vote of 217–197. Emergency funds for battling COVID-19 are included in the package.

H.R. 7617 is available here.



HHS Secretary Issues Report on Surprise Medical Billing
On July 29, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the HHS Secretary’s Report on: Addressing Surprise Medical Billing. Generally, surprise medical billing occurs when a patient is balance-billed for the difference between what a health care plan reimburses and what an out-of-network health care provider charges in a circumstance (often an emergency situation) where there is no realistic opportunity for the patient to know that the care is being provided by an out-of-network provider.

The report provides an overview of current federal and state legislation on surprise billing and notes that the COVID-19 pandemic may be exacerbating the problem. It also discusses how pending federal legislation could eliminate many instances of surprise medical billing.

The HHS’s Secretary’s Report on: Addressing Surprise Medical Billing is available here.

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HHS Renews Declaration of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
On July 23, 2020, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar renewed the public health emergency declaration, effective July 25, 2020. The renewal extends the declaration for another 90 days, until October 23, 2020, although the Secretary has the right to terminate the declaration prior to that expiration date.

The Aon bulletin is available here.

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