Hospitals could soon publish negotiated prices

The Trump administration is reportedly considering requiring hospitals and other healthcare providers to publish the prices they charge insurance companies for services after the rates have been negotiated, The Wall Street Journal reported.

HHS has already been pushing hospitals to publish the list prices of services online, though those rules have caused some confusion for consumers. List prices often do not reflect the prices consumers or insurers actually pay. The potential new requirement would expose “for the first time the actual cost of care,” according to the WSJ.

Such a move would likely be opposed by healthcare providers and insurers, upending the traditionally opaque pricing system. HHS is asking for feedback on whether patients have a right to see the discounted prices before they receive care. The prices could end up online and give consumers more power to make decisions about their healthcare services, as well as introduce more competition that could end up lowering healthcare costs overall.

Healthcare prices vary widely across the country and by setting, and often patients have no idea how much services cost until after they receive care.

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