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Will new rule make health care costs more transparent?

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Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 24, 2022

New rules go into effect on July 1 that require health insurers to make their pricing information available for all covered in-network services and procedures.

“In theory, if you have it, if you're insured by a private health insurance plan, you can go online, you can log into this portal and you can look at all the different procedures, lab tests, surgeries, everything that's available in the world and learn what it's gonna cost you out of pocket at various providers in your area and across the country,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor for the Consumers’ Checkbook.

But there are concerns about compliance based on what has happened with hospitals. They've been required to publish prices since January 2021.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 5,000 hospitals nationwide. It found fewer than 6% were fully compliant with the rule.

Consumers’ Checkbook recently looked into some of the hospitals’ price tools that are currently available. It found many are not very helpful.

“There's really no set parameters for how consumer-friendly those tools have to be. And what we saw from the hospitals is that a few at least tried to build consumer-friendly, patient-friendly tools, but many didn't,” Brasler said. “And that's the worry I have is that that some health insurance plans just they build stuff according to the rules, but they, you know, they just, they just get in under the minimum.”