Patients and consumers alike are benefiting from a key Trump administration patient protections forcing hospitals to publish a complete list of the prices they negotiate with private insurers. According to a New York Times report, the disclosure reveals that major hospitals charge “wildly different amounts for the same basic services: procedures as simple as an X-ray or a pregnancy test.”
As the Times puts it:
“Until now, consumers had no way to know before they got the bill what prices they and their insurers would be paying. Some insurance companies have refused to provide the information when asked by patients and the employers that hired the companies to provide coverage.”
- A woman who tried to find an affordable rabies vaccine for her son found out the cash price quoted to her by the hospital was wrong when she got a bill in the mail weeks late for an additional $2,260.
- Common, commodity-like services such as MRIs varied by thousands of dollars depending on the insurance plan.
- Even pregnancy tests at a single hospital varied among plans issued in the same state.
The data vindicates the Trump Administration’s vision of price transparency and is a major victory for patients and consumers who have been frustrated by the complexity of the health care system. The Biden Administration increased penalties on hospitals who don’t follow the rules and disclose their prices, but more must be done.
On a bipartisan basis, Congress required that all Americans receive a personalized true and honest cost estimates before scheduled surgeries. The Biden Administration has announced that they will not be implementing this provision by the date required by law. They should change course and work swiftly to implement fully that provision as Congress intended.