S. 1875 would require any health care provider not affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit a claim for reimbursement within 180 days of providing emergency care to veterans. Under current law, providers may take two years to submit claims for emergency care provided without prior authorization for conditions that are connected to or were caused by their military service; the deadline is 90 days for conditions that are not connected to veterans’ military service. The bill also would shield veterans from financial liability for unpaid claims that are not submitted on time or that are delayed as a result of administrative errors made by the provider or the department.
CBO expects that most providers who submit claims after 180 days under current law would accelerate their processing to meet the new deadline. However, some of those providers who would get paid under current law may not meet the new deadline, resulting in fewer reimbursements. Given the uncertainty about how providers would respond, CBO is unable to estimate the reduction in discretionary spending.
Section 3 of the bill would require VA to publish and maintain at least one website offering detailed instructions for non‑VA providers to submit claims for reimbursement. VA currently publishes similar information on emergency care provided outside VA facilities. Thus, CBO expects that satisfying that requirement would impose minimal costs on the department. In total, CBO estimates, implementing the bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2022-2026 period. Such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.