A rule that went into on January 1st called the Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule now requires hospitals to post a list of their standard prices online and make electronic medical records more readily available to patients. This new rule is part of a Medicare program aimed at pricing transparency, something that has long been needed. (It can be assumed that this will also allow people to choose how much they want to pay for services and might make hospitals lower their prices to be competitive or seek out the best doctors available.)
This new requirement apparently reflects the Trump administrations ongoing efforts to make patients better educated about their own care. An idea we can certainly get behind.
Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said, “We are just beginning on price transparency. We know that hospitals have this information and we’re asking them to post what they have online.”1
Currently, hospitals are required to publicly disclose their prices but this new change will require them to publish that info online in a machine-readable format that can be easily processed by computers.2 However, that info may still be confusing to people as standard rates don’t reflect what insurers and government programs pay. THAT would be helpful info to have. But, baby steps.
If you are still confused about your out-of-pocket costs, consult with your insurance company.