The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling on Tuesday in favor of patients when it dismissed an attempt by hospital groups to block price transparency regulations. The regulations, issued last November by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), require hospitals, other healthcareproviders, and insurance companies to disclose their cash and negotiated contract prices to patients in a clear, easy-to-access format.
In December 2019, a consortium of hospital groups sued HHS to stop the regulations from taking effect.
In the case, American Hospital Association v. Azar, Independent Women’s Law Center and PatientRightsAdvocates.org filed an amicus brief arguing that providers are fully capable of complying with the rules since insurers routinely disclose their prices in their explanation of benefits statements—after it’s too late for patients to choose the most cost-effective care option.
Independent Women’s Law Center Director Jennifer C. Braceras said, “We are gratified by today’s ruling and hopeful that the nearly fifty percent of American patients with high deductible plans will soon be able to comparison shop until their deductibles are met.” Independent Women’s Law Center Senior Fellow Erin Hawley said, “The Price Transparency Rule upheld by the District Court today is a win for consumers. It injects market-forces into the healthcare economy, making sure that hospital patients—like the consumers of any other product—know upfront the price of a healthcare product or service.”
As a result of today’s ruling, hospitals will soon be required to disclose prices to patients before they purchase care, so that patients can shop for treatment that fits their needs and their budgets.
“The Price Transparency Rule injects market-forces into the healthcare economy, making sure that hospital patients—like the consumers of any other product—know upfront the price of a healthcare product or service.”