Report: 90% of States Failing in Healthcare Price Transparency

Price transparency has become a major component of the healthcare conversation today, but almost every U.S. state has failed in giving consumers access to solid data, according to the latest healthcare price transparency report card from Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

CPR and HCI3 graded each state based on state-specific laws on healthcare price transparency, other regulations related to price transparency and state-mandated price transparency websites. This year, 45 states earned an F, and not a single A was awarded. Maine and Massachusetts both earned a Bs, while Colorado, Vermont and Virginia received Cs.

Last year, in their first annual report card, the groups awarded Fs to 29 states and As to two. However, in last year's report, CPR and HCI3 graded states on a curve, unlike this year, meaning some states received credit for simply have a price transparency law on the books. New Hampshire earned an A last year, but it dropped to an F this year because the state has had a long-inoperative price transparency website.

The groups said an essential part of transparent states in an all-payer claims database. APCDs collect health insurance claims from all payers — Medicare, Medicaid, private and others — into one repository. The report said, "APCDs are a superior source of price information for consumers because they contain data on what was actually paid for all services and procedures from a broad group of payers," thus giving patients a reasonable estimate for the price of an episode of care. CPR and HCI3 praised Colorado for its APCD, which was enacted as part of a law in 2010. The consumer-based website is expected to launch this summer.

CPR, which works with several large employers and organizations like the AFL-CIO and Wal-Mart, has demanded states, hospitals and health insurers make healthcare price information more readily available for consumers during the past several years.

"Access to meaningful price information is more important than ever as consumers continue to take on a rising share of expenses," Suzanne Delbanco, PhD, executive director of CPR, said in a news release. "While many states have made progress, there's still much more work to be done for the majority of residents in the United States to have access to essential information on the price of healthcare."

More Articles on Healthcare Price Transparency:
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