Federal Mandate Requires Hospitals To Post Prices Online

Tuesday, January 1st 2019, 3:48 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Beginning January 1 hospitals have to post their prices online. The federal mandate is part of Obamacare. The federal government says the goal is to increase health care transparency so patients have the information they need to make decisions about their own care. Hospitals are required to post a Chargemaster report, which is an itemized list of everything a hospital charges for: every pill, probe and procedure.

However Patti Davis, the President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association agrees patients need to be informed but believes an itemized listing isn't that useful.

“We believe it’s more meaningful for the patient to know what the average price of a procedure is rather than every individual thing.

In addition, Davis points out the listing doesn't include physician costs, such as your surgeon, anesthesiologist or radiologist who all likely will send you their own bill.  For most patents the most important thing is how much your insurance will pay. That depends on if the hospital is in network or out of network and the contract your insurance company has with the hospital.

“We would advise an patient to call their hospital, get an estimate of what this is going to cost, understand their health insurance plan, understand what out of pocket costs mean and then lastly do the same thing with physician charges because those aren’t included in the hospital prices.”

Davis also wanted us to mention that patients that are uninsured or underinsured may qualify for free or discounted care. Patients can ask the hospital about their charity care policy. 

For more information here’s a guide to healthcare prices:

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