Hospitals file appeal in price disclosure suit

The American Hospital Association has filed an appeal in a lawsuit challenging a rule that requires hospitals to disclose rates they negotiate with insurers beginning in 2021. 

Under a final rule issued in November, hospitals are required to disclose the standard charges, including payer-specific negotiated rates, for all services beginning next year. 

The AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, Children's Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals sued HHS in December, arguing the department lacks statutory authority to require public disclosure of individually negotiated rates between commercial insurers and hospitals. HHS argued its definition of standard charges is permissible under a 2010 law enacted to lower the cost of healthcare coverage.

Both sides filed motions for summary judgment, and Judge Carl Nichols with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted HHS' motion and denied the hospital groups' motion on June 23. 

The AHA announced June 27 that it has appealed the decision.

"The proposal does nothing to help patients understand their out-of-pocket costs," AHA General Counsel Melinda Hatton said after the decision was issued. "It also imposes significant burdens on hospitals at a time when resources are stretched thin and need to be devoted to patient care. Hospitals and health systems have consistently supported efforts to provide patients with information about the costs of their medical care. This is not the right way to achieve this important goal."

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