The White House has issued rules requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more transparency to consumers upfront about the cost of their care. The rule, which was initially proposed in July 2019, will go into effect January 2021.
Under the new rule, hospitals will be required to reveal the discounted rates they negotiate with insurers – and the minimum and maximum rates per insurer – for hundreds of services that patients can schedule in advance, such as Caesarean sections and X-rays. In addition, the Trump administration is drafting a second rule that would require employer health insurance plans to disclose rates they negotiate with physicians and hospitals in their networks, as well as the amounts they pay to out-of-network doctors.
Escalating out-of-pocket health care costs are a top voter issue, and these actions comprise part of President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign strategy.
The hospital industry plans to try to block the rule, saying that the provision “hurts competition, and we don’t think they have the statutory authority to do it,” according to Tom Nickels, the American Hospital Association’s executive vice president for government relations and public policy. The health insurance industry also opposes the rule. Scott Serota, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, said publishing rates “may have negative, unintended consequences – including price increases – as clinicians and medical facilities could see in the negotiated payments a road map to bidding up prices.”