Model Disclosure Notice Regarding Patient Protections Against Surprise Billing

Section 2799B-3 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) requires health care providers and facilities to make publicly available, post on a public website of the provider or facility (if applicable), and provide a one-page notice that includes information in clear and understandable language on:

  1. the restrictions on providers and facilities regarding balance billing in certain circumstances,
  2. any applicable state law protections against balance billing, and
  3. information on contacting appropriate state and federal agencies in the case that an individual believes that a provider or facility has violated the restrictions against balance billing.

Health care providers and facilities may, but aren’t required to, use this model notice to meet these disclosure requirements. To use this document properly, the provider or facility should review and complete it in a manner consistent with applicable state and federal law. HHS considers use of this model notice in accordance with these instructions to be good faith compliance with the disclosure requirements of section 2799B-3 of the PHS Act and 45 CFR 149.430, if all other applicable PHS Act requirements are met.

If a state develops model language for its disclosure notice that is consistent with section 2799B-3 of the PHS Act, HHS will consider a provider or facility that makes good faith use of the state-developed model language to be compliant with the federal requirement to include information about state law protections.

Public Disclosure Requirements

The disclosure notice must be publicly available, and (if applicable) posted on a provider’s or facility’s public website.

  • To satisfy the public disclosure requirement, providers and facilities must prominently display a sign with the required disclosure information in a location of the provider or facility, such as, where individuals schedule care, check-in for appointments, or pay bills, unless the provider doesn’t have a publicly accessible location.
  • To satisfy the separate requirement to post the disclosure on a public website, the disclosure or a link to the disclosure must appear on a searchable homepage of the provider’s or facility’s public website.

Who should get this notice

In general, providers and facilities must give the disclosure notice to individuals who are participants, beneficiaries, or enrollees of a group health plan or group or individual health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer, including covered individuals in a health benefits plan under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and to whom they furnish items or services, and then only if such items or services are furnished at a health care facility, or in connection with a visit at a health care facility.

Provision of the notice

Providers and facilities must provide the notice in-person, by mail, or via email, as selected by the individual. The disclosure notice must be limited to one-page (double-sided) and must use a font size of 12-points or larger.

Providers and facilities must issue the disclosure notice no later than the date and time on which they request payment from the individual (including requests for copayment or coinsurance made at the time of a visit to the provider or facility). If the provider or facility doesn’t request payment from the individual, the notice must be provided no later than the date on which the provider or facility submits a claim for payment to the plan or issuer.


Language access

Use of Plain Language

Health care providers,facilities, plans, and issuers are encouraged to use plain language in the disclosure notice and test the notice for clarity and usability when possible.

Plain language, accessibility, and language access resources:

Compliance with Federal Civil Rights Laws

Entities that receive federal financial assistance must comply with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination. These laws include section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 1557 and title VI require covered entities to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency, which may include offering language assistance services such as translation of written content into languages other than English.

Section 1557 and section 504 require covered entities to take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities, including provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services. Auxiliary aids and services may include interpreters, large print materials, accessible information and communication technology, open and closed captioning, and other aids or services for persons who are blind or have low vision, or who are deaf or hard of hearing. Information provided through information and communication technology also must be accessible to individuals with disabilities, unless certain exceptions apply. Providers and facilities are reminded that the disclosure notice must comply with applicable state or federal language-access standards.

NOTE: The information provided in these instructions is intended to be only a general summary of technical legal standards. It is not intended to take the place of the statutes, regulations, or formal policy guidance on which it is based. Refer to the applicable statutes, regulations, and other interpretive materials for complete and current information.

Do not include these instructions with the disclosure notice provided to patients.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The valid OMB control number for this information collection is 0938-XXXX. The time required to complete this information collection is estimated to average 3.5 hours per response, including the time to review instructions, search existing data resources, gather the data needed, and complete and review the information collection. If you have comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate(s) or suggestions for improving this form, please write to: CMS, 7500 Security Boulevard, Attn: PRA Reports Clearance Officer, Mail Stop C4-26- 05, Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850.


Your Rights and Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

Emergency services

If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments and coinsurance). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services.

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center

When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed.

If you get other services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’trequired to get care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

When balance billing isn’t allowed, you also have the following protections:

You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly.

Your health plan generally must:

  • Cover emergency services without requiring you to get approval for services in advance (prior authorization).
  • Cover emergency services by out-of-network providers.
  • Base what you owe the provider or facility (cost-sharing) on what it would pay an in-network provider or facility and show that amount in your explanation of benefits.
  • Count any amount you pay for emergency services or out-of-network services toward your deductible and out-of-pocket limit.