A new law requires all U.S. hospitals to post their complete price list online in a machine-readable format, such as a spreadsheet, on their own websites.
It is a huge first step towards achieving the transparency consumers require and deserve in fixing our US healthcare system!
The rule, created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is similar to a 2006 California law mandating hospitals share master price lists on a state-run website.
I’m already beginning to see analysis and comparisons with articles starting to appear headlining the vast price differences that is now there in black and white for us all to see.
Of course, hospitals then attempt to defend their pricing, comparing their posted prices to hotel rack rates (which is hurting their reputations even more since we as patients are people – not hotels). But the conclusion, then, is that we can negotiate. The opaque door has finally been pried open and, along with this first step in transparency come a modicum of accountability.
One hospital in the California Bay Area stated that “The amount patients actually pay for hospital services has more to do with the type of insurance coverage they have, than amounts on the chargemaster (master price list).”
Ah, health insurance. I was waiting for a hospital to try to redirect the spotlight back over to insurance, certainly another piece of the shell game, and what they’ve been successfully hiding behind for decades.
But – the gig is up. The door is open, hospitals must now be transparent with their prices, be accountable for their prices, and consumers can now directly negotiate.
We still have a long way to go to achieving the health care system we all want and deserve, but this was a very important first step.
Source: Chris Cumura & James Jackson, January 1, 2019. NBC Bay Area. “New Law Requires All U.S. Hospitals Post Complete Price Lists Online.” Retrieved on 1/30/19 at:
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