Most states failing to provide healthcare price transparency

A new study concludes the vast majority of states are failing to offer price transparency to healthcare consumers.

The 2016 Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws gives 43 states an “F” for “failing to meet even minimum standards,” according to the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI) and Catalyst for Payment Reform, the two independent health policy organizations that conducted the study.

Three states – Colorado, Maine, and New Hampshire – scored an “A” for providing detailed pricing on a variety of medical procedures through easy-to-use public websites, backed by rich data sources.

“Real healthcare price transparency for consumers is dependent on rich data sources that provide meaningful price information on a wide range of procedures and services,” François de Brantes, HCI executive director and lead report author, said in a statement. “But that’s not enough. It must be presented on an accessible, publicly available website.”

The report did offer a note of encouragement to those states with failing grades.

“Oregon moved from an “F” to a “B” after a year of sustained effort to improve,” the organizations said. “About a dozen other states could quickly move up in the ratings by building high-quality websites to display data they already collect in all-payer claims databases, the best source of price information.”

CPR Executive Director and report co-author Suzanne Delbanco said that while many states have laws in place requiring the release of healthcare pricing information, they score poorly “because of the design and implementation of those laws. The could make relatively easy fixes by deploying the appropriate resources.”


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