Most hospitals opting for noncompliance fee over disclosing prices

Most hospitals are still not fully compliant with CMS' price transparency rule, opting to pay the maximum $300 per day noncompliance fee rather than face the potential costs of price disclosure, according to research published June 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The rule, which took effect Jan. 1, aims to save Americans money by allowing them to price shop for healthcare services. It requires hospitals to post a machine-readable file with the negotiated rates for all items and services and display the prices of 300 shoppable services in a consumer-friendly format. 

Researchers studied two groups of hospitals: 100 randomly sampled hospitals and the 100 hospitals with the highest revenues in 2017.

Of the 100 randomly sampled hospitals, 83 percent failed to comply with at least one of the rule's requirements. A little more than 50 percent of the hospitals had a cost estimator tool, but they all required patients to input their personal health information to access it.

Of the 100 top-grossing hospitals, 75 percent failed to comply with at least one of the rule's requirements, and 86 percent offered a price estimator tool.

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