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Hospital price lists not a ‘silver bullet,’ but first step toward empowering patients | cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A recent requirement for more transparency in hospital pricing could be the first step in transforming the healthcare industry into a consumer-driven one, making shopping for a procedure more like buying a house or a car.

Under new federal regulations, hospitals have to post a list of service prices, called chargemasters, on their websites. However, these lists don’t reflect the final costs most patients pay. They don’t factor in the lower rates insurers negotiate, nor do they standardize the way that services are listed, making it difficult to compare apples-to-apples.

“What [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has done is not the silver bullet, but certainly it is a catalyst toward moving the industry toward much more user-friendly retail comparisons,” said Jeff Price, vice president of payer strategy and population health operations for Summa Health.

Price said greater transparency will “allow consumers to make very-educated decisions.”

“It’s no different than just about any other industry that we as consumers live in,” Price said.

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Hospital price lists not a ‘silver bullet,’ but first step toward empowering patients – cleveland.com.

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