The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries calls on Biden Administration to enforce the hospital pricing transparency law
Katy Talento: ‘Hospitals are required by law to post their prices for easy comparative shopping, so why aren’t they complying?’
Health care consumers and patients can hope the fourth Hospital Price Transparency Compliance Report will be much better than the recently-released third semi-annual Hospital Price Transparency Compliance Report. The new report, issued in August, makes it all too apparent that the vast majority of hospitals are ignoring a number of requirements of transparency law that would make an enormous difference to patients suffering from out-of-control medical bills. The insufficient enforcement by the Biden Administration is obvious, as the report shows that more than 17 months after the rule took effect, only two hospitals were fined for noncompliance. The administration has also issued a number of warning letters to non-compliant hospitals but has not disclosed to the public that list of warned hospitals. The compliance report also has a list of local hospitals that are either compliant or noncompliant with the rule.
“Federal price transparency rules require hospitals to post all negotiated rates with every single commercial insurance plan that they’ve contracted with, a list of cash prices for the uninsured or self-pay patients, and even rates for government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and the Veterans Administration — including contracted rates with managed care organizations delivering those federal programs’ benefits,” said Katy Talento, executive director of Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries (The Alliance, ahcsm.org).
The hospital compliance report concludes that only “16.0% of the 2,000 hospitals (319/2,000)” are in compliance with the transparency law. This means that there is an 84% likelihood any given hospital is still hiding many or most prices, or at least making comparison shopping as difficult as possible for patients.
“The goal of the law was to make comparison shopping easier for health care consumers, but what this study found is appalling evidence that there has been no enforcement of the hospital pricing transparency rule since it became law in January 2021,” Talento said. “Hospitals are required to post their prices clearly, so that even the most unsophisticated among us can have credible information to compare costs of other providers, but too many hospitals use hidden pricing as a way to take advantage of patients.”
Over a recent six-year period, medical costs have doubled. Striving to find a better way to handle rising medical costs and obtain price transparency for medical services, more than a million Americans have turned to Health Care Sharing Ministries, according to the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. Since 2019, $1.3 billion of medical expenses have been shared by the members of Health Care Sharing Ministries for care in all 50 states.
Talento concluded, “This kind of commonsense market reform is long overdue. For far too long, medical costs have been shrouded in secrecy as insurance costs have skyrocketed. It’s one of the reasons why many Americans of faith have turned to Health Care Sharing Ministries, which facilitate sharing costs among their members and help their members lower their medical bills.”
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministry organizations which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on medical cost sharing.