As patients are increasingly being asked to pay a greater part of their health bills, a coalition of provider and consumer advocacy groups, insurers and pharmaceutical companies have launched a new initiative for greater transparency concerning the real costs of services. Among the coalition's member organizations are AARP, the National Consumers League, the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, Novo Nordisk and Aetna. Known as "Clear Choices", the initiative gives a much-needed boost to efforts already undertaken by private and government organizations, making sure that patients get more information about the actual cost of health services.
Indeed, health care transparency has become a hot topic in the industry. It implies that all consumers should have access to information that allows them to accurately estimate the cost of health care services and easily compare physician quality rankings and outcomes. This information must be available to patients, regardless whether they are covered by Medicare, work-based insurance or are not covered at all.
Among its main priorities, the coalition seeks to advance the Medicare doctor payment legislation pending in the Senate. The legislation would require Medicare to release a significant amount of data for broader use on claims at the provider level. Furthermore, the coalition wants to put pressure on the federal government and states to enforce a critical part of the health care law, requiring exchange plans to provide consumers with very specific information regarding provider networks and covered drugs.
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