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Posting hospital prices online is just one step toward transparency | Crain’s Cleveland Business

Following the Jan. 1 implementation of a Trump administration rule, patients can find extensive lists online of hospitals’ charges for various services and procedures.

Making the lists of medical codes, abbreviations and price tags — called chargemasters — publicly available is a step forward in price transparency, especially as it gives consumers a better view of the cost variations in health care.

But the numbers might not be terribly helpful for patients trying to understand what a specific procedure or service will cost them. Most patients don’t pay the listed prices. Their responsibility depends on payment plans negotiated with individual health insurers. Also, uninsured or underinsured patients may qualify for discounts.

Officials in Northeast Ohio say that price transparency is a journey, and while this is one step along that path, it’s certainly not the final one in helping consumers understand costs.

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Posting hospital prices online is just one step toward transparency.

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