New transparency rule requiring hospitals to post prices confuses patients

A new federal policy took effect on Jan. 1 that requires hospitals to post standard prices online. However, the rule, which intends to boost transparency, may be causing more confusion than clarity for patients, according to reports.

The rule, which was introduced in April 2018 and was met with support from hospital industry groups, isn’t making navigating the healthcare space any easier for patients. Met with an indiscernible order of medical codes, abbreviations and dollar signs, consumers aren’t able to figure out how much a procedure will cost beforehand by looking at the online information, CNN reported.

To figure out the cost of a hospital visit, consumers have to locate and add up each price component from the online information, called the Chargemaster––a challenging feat, according to CNN. In addition, those prices might not reflect actual amounts charged to different insurers, further confusing how much consumers would have to pay.

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