Study: Policymakers Could Cut $100B From Health Spending Through Transparency Interventions

Increased healthcare price transparency could potentially play a considerable role in payment reform and help contain costs, according to an analysis released by the nonprofit West Health Policy Center.

checkIn the study, researchers from the former Center for Studying Health System Change (which has merged with Mathematica Policy Research) concluded policymakers could reduce U.S. healthcare spending by approximately $100 billion during the next decade if they enacted the following three interventions.

1. Require all private health plans to offer a price transparency tool to their members. This policy intervention would involve private health insurers providing their members with data on out-of-pocket and total prices specific to the provider, the service and the patient's plan and benefit design. Enacting this requirement by 2019 could reduce spending by $18 billion over 10 years, according to the study.

2. Require electronic health records to provide price data to physicians ordering imaging and laboratory services. This policy change would encourage physicians to consider price data when making patient recommendations. Additionally, it would complement the federal government's effort to encourage the expanded use of EHRs. The estimated cost savings would be $27 billion during the course of a decade.

3. Report hospital-specific prices through state all-payer claims databases. Providing the prices health insurers have negotiated with particular hospitals would make it easier to identify high-price providers and assess the level of competition in hospital care markets. This policy intervention would reduce spending by approximately $61 billion over 10 years, according to the study.

More Articles on Price Transparency:
Health Care Cost Institute, Health Insurers to Collaborate on Price Transparency Portal
North Carolina Makes Medicaid Data Available to Providers Through Statewide HIE  
4 Healthcare Organizations With Price Transparency Tools 


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