Price transparency, still up in the air, not likely to reduce costs

July 14, 2020 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Healthcare consumers are often stuck with bills that are confusing and illuminate little about the actual out-of-pocket costs they’re required to pay. To address this, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put its weight behind a price transparency rule requiring hospitals to disclose to consumers their negotiated prices with payers. 

The ruling has been challenged in court and is the focus of ongoing legal wrangling, and even if passed, many expect that it won’t have its intended result.

Hospitals are especially skeptical that the disclosures will lead to lower costs or would benefit consumers because the disclosed charges would not represent patients’ actual out-of-pocket costs. And hospitals expressed concern that the compliance burden could ultimately “get in the way of providers spending time with patients,” according to court documents.

Becky Greenfield, attorney with Miami-based boutique firm Wolfe Pincavage, said the final rule would ultimately reduce competition.


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