States Fail Transparency Tests – Save On Medical Has the Answers

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It seems that our nation is in a tizzy of disappointment over the Catalyst for Payment Reform’s report card on price transparency by state.  The country is rightfully tizzying, as it is about time patients gain access to treatment costs and easily understandable health care bills.

The report, which was released on Monday, awarded only 2 states A grades for their transparency, while a whopping 29 states received F’s and a whole 7 states got D’s.  The components, which contributed to these grades, included policies being in place to keep patients in the loop as far as the costs of their health care procedures and the scope of costs they will be response for after their visits.  The scoring matrix, which they used to grade each state can viewed here:

It was stated that none of the states have implemented full transparency but it is evident that patient consumers want clear access to costs. We can assume this based on the reader feedback to Steven Brill’s article in Time, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, about the nature of health care costs.  The main issue is that patients do not see or understand the pricing gap between various procedures and services at different physicians’ offices.  Patients can now compare prices online, consider quality and then make their own educated decisions.

We know this isn’t a trend that will pass with the wind either; transparency is here to stay.  The Center for Payment Reform has announced that they will be conducting their report annually, handing out state report cards each year, until the states adopt transparency.   States adopting these transparency laws is an important step, however it is just as valuable for patients to take control of their own care as it is for providers and payers to pave the way to transparent care.

Stay tuned in the next few days for a video response from our Co-Founder and Vice President, Matt Schneider on the effect this report card will have on patients, transparency and where to go from here.