Tuesday, February 19th 2019

New Requirement for US Hospitals to Post Prices Online

Written by

Rafael Bracho

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US hospitals post costs online

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Recently, one thing that has plagued patients around the United States is the unknown costs of seeking medical treatment. Medical treatment in hospitals around the US has generally carried with it outlandish hidden costs—many of which were previously unavailable to patients seeking to learn how much their treatment would cost. Now, all that has changed because of a new federal rule which requires hospitals to post prices online—thus listing of all standard treatments throughout the United States.

*This has been added to 1886(d)(4) of the Social Security Act as of January 1st, 2019.

Background for the new rule requiring hospitals to post prices online:

On April 24th, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed making changes to the Social Security Act in order to better help patients choose their providers, and increase hospital transparency. This would also help make electronic hospital records more precise for the benefit of healthcare providers. With an increase in transparency and interoperability, the CMS hoped that patients would better receive healthcare that would greatly reduce their financial burden significantly.

About the new regulations requiring hospitals to post prices online:

When you are seeking medical treatment in the United States, you aren’t necessarily thinking about how much your medical care is going to cost. However, gone are the days of receiving a shocking medical bill with loads of hidden costs that can break your finances for years to come. Now, medical transparency is a necessity in the United States.

The prices will not be static, however. They will still vary from hospital to hospital, and then the prices will fluctuate depending on what your insurance is able to negotiate, therefore the insurance that you choose is very important. Due to this fact, your hospital bill may not reflect the prices posted online. However, the hospital’s price list will have to be updated at least once a year to reflect changing market prices and negotiations with insurance companies.

It has yet to be articulated how hospitals that fail to comply with this new regulation will be penalized as per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid(CMS).

More information on hospitals to post prices online:

All hospitals must post prices online whether they are psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, or emergency trauma centers. Even Critical Access Hospitals and Sole Community Hospitals will have to post their prices online. If they are operating within the United States, then these hospitals must post prices online. This includes prescriptions medication and other drugs, as well as other biologicals.

It will be the responsibility of hospitals to post standard pricing lists, and make them publicly available online. Furthermore, these lists will have to be updated, with the full encouragement that CMS engage the community to inform the public as to the potential financial liability of their medical care. This will thus enable patients to compare and contrast pricing when choosing their medical care.

*For more information and answers to questions about this new law, click here.

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