There are numerous issues within the U.S. healthcare system. Sadly, increasing premiums and undisclosed, exorbitant medical bills continue to consume Americans’ incomes and wallets. For some, this can mean devastating financial consequences like failing to pay the rent or mortgage, or filing for bankruptcy.
To help make health care more affordable for everyone, all of us are in serious need of greater price transparency, which is basically non-existent in today’s healthcare industry.
Last week, The Hill reported that a bipartisan effort in Congress to protect Americans from surprise medical billing is under attack by deep-pocketed special interests along with some Democratic lawmakers who are choosing to put politics and the upcoming 2020 election ahead of policy.
While surprise medical billing is a real problem, it is just a part of the larger price transparency problem. Fortunately, the Administration has pledged to achieve genuine price transparency in health care and is considering larger, more systemic changes to alleviate the hardship brought on by surprise billing, as well as addressing problems related to not knowing how much we pay for medical services and what our insurance companies pay on our behalf.
Sixty percent of health services are shoppable. That means that if patients had access to better information, they could make more informed choices about their care. That’s why we must work to provide Americans with genuine price transparency so they can shop wisely.
Currently, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is seeking and accepting comments on proposed rules that will arm patients with price and quality information about their healthcare by requiring hospitals to disclose information about negotiated rates with insurers. The comment period ends Friday, September 27th.
The proposed rule can be viewed here.
For more information, check out this useful checklist IWV created to distinguish genuine price transparency from counterfeit price transparency.