How Colorado's new hospital price transparency law will work

When Colorado's price transparency law goes into effect Aug. 10, it won't be enforced by the state, the Denver Post reported June 20. 

Instead, the law puts the responsibility on patients to sue if hospitals are not following it. 

The bill signed into law by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis this month prohibits hospitals that are not following federal price transparency laws from using debt collectors, filing negative credit reports against patients and obtaining state court judgments for outstanding debts.

If a noncompliant hospital takes any of those steps, the patient has the right to sue. In an example of how the law will work, the report said if a patient who had a $10,000 surgery sued and won, the patient wouldn’t have to pay the debt and would receive an additional $10,000, according to the report. 

Cynthia Fisher, founder of PatientRightsAdvocate.org, told the Post giving patients the right to sue is progress. She said that if hospitals do comply, it also gives the patient some ability to challenge their bill with the billing department by pointing to the price list, or to shop around and ask for a price match if they do their research in advance. 

"The enforcement empowers the patient," she told the Post. "We hope to have all this data unleashed and create a marketplace."

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