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Hospitals are Now Required to Post Prices Online
January 1st, 2019 brought a new era in pricing for healthcare patients. As healthcare costs continue to rise, millions of Americans are finding themselves struggling to pay for necessary surgeries and procedures. Hospitals and providers around the country have been using the lack of transparency in pricing to their advantage, with many patients experiencing drastic price differences from one facility to the next for the exact same procedure.
Soon, those extreme price differences will be a thing of the past.
Trump Administration Moves Towards “Value-Based Care”
Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized a rule that aims to reduce the costs of healthcare while at the same time, improving patient outcomes. This rule is part of the Trump administration’s goal towards “value-based care”.
New Rule Requires Blatant Price Transparency
Hospitals are now required to make a public list of their standard charges via the Internet. They must update the price list at least annually or more often if necessary.
A Future of Lower Medical Costs
The goal of this new rule is that medical costs will be driven down as patients are able to access more information about what different procedures will cost and where they can find a more affordable rate. By being able to easily shop around, it will offer more encouragement for hospitals and providers to reduce their costs in an effort to compete.
No U.S. Hospital is Exempt
This law affects all hospitals nationwide, ensuring that everyone has access to current pricing and a fair chance at determining where best to seek medical care.
Previous Law Only Required Notification of Pricing if Requested
While it isn’t new for hospitals to keep an updated pricing list of services on hand, the requirements for public availability have changed with this new rule. Under previous law, hospitals were only required to provide prices if patients requested them. And with majority of Americans unaware of their ability to gain access to those price lists, it created an enormous advantage to price gouging and variances between facilities.
New Tool Allows for Cost Comparison
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new online tool in November that allows consumers to compare Medicare payments and copayments for certain procedures. These procedures are performed in both ambulatory surgical centers as well as hospital outpatient facilities.
The Procedure Price Lookup tool shows national averages for the amount Medicare pays to these facilities. It also allows you to view national averages of copays for those with no Medicare supplemental insurance.