Kansas won't tell a prominent think tank about hospital prices

Kansas officials have refused to share information about hospital prices that is stored by the state with prominent think tank Rand Corp., Kansas City's NPR affiliate KCUR reported June 29.

Rand compares the costs of hospital prices across the country by gathering information from states, insurers and employers about the amounts they paid at different hospitals. 

About 20 states, including Kansas, collect medical claims and have a record of the amounts insurers and employers paid hospitals. In 2020, six states shared price information with Rand. Rand researcher Christopher Whaley, PhD, told the station he expects a dozen states to share information in 2021.

Kansas' healthcare and insurance officials say the information represents company affairs that the state is not at liberty to publicize. The state's insurance department said state regulations allow it to share only aggregated data, and "private contracts would be considered a trade secret."

The state's database of private insurance claims holds information for 800,000 residents, according to the Kansas Health Institute.

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