Report: States fail to provide transparency on the cost of health care

Apr 1, 2014 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

In the Affordable Care Act world, state governments are expected to provide information on the cost of care. These details are valuable to Americans looking to purchase a health insurance policy that best suits their needs, but research from the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute found that no state offered enough transparency to get an "A" grade. This is partially due to the fact that the nonprofit didn't include hospitals or medical centers with their own price transparency website.

"While these sites can be a valuable resource to consumers, if they are not legislated they can be short-lived, dependent on the good will and resources of the organization that hosts them," the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute announced.

We talked about how some states are working on legislation to increase price transparency, but findings show that price transparency is a nationwide problem. About 90 percent of the country, 45 states in total, fail to provide details on the price of care or have a website that is easy to use.

When the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute looked at all 50 states' health care transparency websites in 2012, some territories fared better than others. However, the methodology then ran on a curve. This time around, researchers compared state regulations, bills on price transparency and active statutes, according to Forbes Magazine. 

"Some states have robust price transparency laws and regulations, requiring them to create a publicly available website with price information based on real paid claims information; but in reality, the public can't readily access that information because the website is poorly designed, or poorly functioning,"  Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute's statement on the report card reads.

For example, New Hampshire was initially given an A rating, but after further review its grade is now an F for having a price transparency website that is inoperative. On the other hand, Maine and Massachusetts were the only areas that received a B.

After what happened with, it has become clear that the health care industry needs to update its technology to meet today's standards. Price transparency is important to Americans as well as health care professionals who utilize these pricing charts.

Accounts receivable services rely on these databases to identify exactly how much to charge a patient for a practitioner's services. Without these valuable tools, medical claims management may experience a backlog. If that does happen at your facility, outsource some accounts to Professional Medical Services.