Last week, The Catalyst for Payment Reform organization released their third report card, grading U.S. states on their level of health care price transparency. Bad news everyone, they are not impressive. With 45 states receiving failing grades, it is clear that we have a long way to go. Two years ago, when the group released their first price transparency report, only 29 states failed, which means some states, have taken steps backwards rather than forwards.
In a survey performed earlier this year, it was found that only one out of three patients actually have access to pricing for medical procedures, yet 80% of those surveyed said they value price transparency as much as they value bed-side manner. Having access to clear costs is so important to patients that over 50% of those surveyed said they would actually change their medical provider just to get better access to price transparency.
We want to give the people what they want. We’re here to say that enough is enough. Starting today, we want the U.S. to adopt better health care price transparency, but where do we start?
Medical providers have seen the writing on the wall, they know that they have to start showing their prices in order to appease consumer driven patients. It’s hard for doctors and hospitals to accept that the time is now to show costs, but many have gotten on board. The next step is getting state governments to jump on the bandwagon, pushing those who are still apprehensive to adopt full price transparency.
Colorado and Maine received B grades in the report, gaining attention for their legislation over the previous year and their efforts aimed at improving access to prices. New Hampshire is highlighted as the only state to receive an A rating, due in large part to the creation of state-wide website New Hampshire Health Cost. This government website was developed by the New Hampshire Insurance Department to improve transparency and while it isn’t perfect yet, it’s a great resource for patients looking to compare prices on medical procedures. These prices are only estimates, but we admire them for taking steps in the right direction.
Some states still received failing grades, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for patients. The states might not be on board yet, but many providers are still making it easy for patients to shop online. Shout out to these high-quality health care providers in states like Florida, Texas, New York and California! We look forward to next year and hope by then, that patients in every city and state in the United States can view prices online.