Have you ever been shell shocked by the extreme high price of a medical bill you’ve received, to treat what you assumed was a simple, routine procedure? If so, you are certainly not alone. Enough people each year receive exorbitant bills from hospitals that it is has become an issue that is frequently discussed in the media and in government. And despite the fact that there are many factors at play in determining your bill’s total, an overwhelming number of people believe that the hospitals are to blame for the costs.
In fact, based on a recent survey from NORC at the University of Chicago, 82% of respondents believe that hospitals are “very” or “somewhat” responsible for surprise medical costs, significantly higher than the rates of response for insurance companies or government.
Fortunately, after the New Years, figuring out what you’re going to be charged for your care is going to become a little more transparent. On 1/1/19, a new regulation, called the Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule, introduced by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar eight months ago, will mandate that hospitals across the US post the prices of their services online. Also contained within the language of the regulation, hospitals will now have to provide the prices of standard services online, and also make medical records more easily accessible by patients, and shareable between institutions.
As an added stipulation, to help ensure that hospitals follow the new rules, Medicare reimbursements to hospitals will be partly based on the quality of an institution’s information-sharing and accessibility.
At the time of the announcement, Azar said he believed the regulation will create competition in the market and reduce costs by putting “patients in charge of their care and [allowing] them to receive the quality and price information needed to drive competition and increase value.”
Isn't it nice to know that starting in a few days, that when you need to search for a hospital near you, you'll be able to see their pricing right on their website?