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Most States Fail At Guaranteeing Price Transparency, Report Says

03/18/13

  10:04:50 am, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Most States Fail At Guaranteeing Price Transparency, Report Says

Most states come up short regarding laws that guarantee patient access to information on hospital and clinic prices, finds a new report from the employer group Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

According to Modern Healthcare, 29 states got an “F” grade in price transparency – including seven without any such laws whatsoever – while another seven states received a “D". Grades were based on how how easily disclosed prices could be seen by the public; whether laws required disclosure of prices or discounts paid by insurers; and how many providers and procedures were included.

Only two states, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, got an “A” grade – and even in those cases, disclosure was lacking, the authors said.

“We graded on a curve,” said Suzanne Delbanco, executive director of the institute. “I think there’s room for improvement, even among the As.” She added that as people pay a larger portion of their health care costs, more price transparency is essential.

Glenn Melnick, a health care finance professor at the University of Southern California, described the report as “pretty lenient”, noting that “The real challenge will be to combine detailed services into common bundles of services that consumers are likely to buy and then give actual prices. Right now, pricing is far too detailed and after the fact to be helpful to consumers.”

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