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On Thursday, the Health and Human Services Department, Department of Labor and Department of the Treasury issued a final rule on price transparency in an effort to assist Americans in knowing how much care will cost in advance and allowing the consumer to make fully informed, value-conscious decisions.

The rule requires almost all health insurance companies and self-insured plans to disclose pricing and cost-sharing information.

More than 200 million Americans with private-sector insurance will now have access to a list of real-time price information, including cost-sharing. This final rule will enable patients to know how much care will cost before treatment.

“President Trump’s actions to require full transparency on prices throughout our healthcare system may be the single most pro-patient, pro-consumer reform American healthcare has ever seen,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We want every American to be able to work with their doctor to decide on the healthcare that makes sense for them, and those conversations can’t take place in a shadowy system where prices are hidden. With more than 70 percent of the most costly healthcare services being shoppable, Americans will have vastly more control over their care, delivering on the President’s vision of better care, lower costs, and more choice.”

Hidden healthcare prices have produced a “dysfunctional system” that serves “special interests” while leaving patients “out in the cold,” according to Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicine and Medicaid Services Administrator. Price transparency puts patients in control and forces competition, Verma added.

“This final rule opens the way to greater openness and transparency in our healthcare system,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “American workers in employer-sponsored health plans will now have access to real-time, personalized cost-sharing information that empowers them to shop and compare costs between specific providers before receiving care. Today’s rule is another example of the Trump Administration improving healthcare access and options for American workers.”

Senator Chuck Grassley said upfront transparency in the cost of care is “critical information” for patients.

“Requiring all health insurance companies to provide patients with an estimate of out-of-pocket costs before they receive care and disclose their previously secret negotiated prices will provide the 200 million Americans with private health insurance some real insight into the numbers behind their bills. This new rule will help curb some of the dysfunction that has hurt patients for years. This is a critical step for a better, more pro-patient system. I also hope we can codify some of these measures through Senator Braun’s PRICE Transparency Act, which I’ve joined,” Grassley said.

Author: Jacob Hall