Nonprofit, system-affiliated hospitals more likely to comply with price transparency rule, study finds

Nonprofit and/or system-affiliated hospitals are more likely to publish their pricing information online in a consumer-friendly format than for-profit and/or independent hospitals, according to a study published June 19 in Medical Care Research and Review.

The CMS price disclosure 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 from the Minneapolis-based University of Minnesota used an internet search to examine the pricing information disclosed by a nationally representative sample of 470 hospitals. Their analysis looked at whether the hospitals met CMS' requirements, as well as their ownership status, system affiliation, number of beds and location.

Of the hospitals included in the study, 73.5 percent reported pricing data in a consumer-friendly format. Most did so by presenting an online price estimator tool.

One in 4 hospitals reported all the pricing information required by CMS. Payer-specific negotiated rates were the least likely to be disclosed.

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