A group of advocacy organizations and consumer groups has released a new guide to help the health care industry improve its price transparency efforts and patients to access price data, according to the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
The Price Transparency in Health Care recommendations were developed to ease patients’ ability to obtain prices as they are responsible for more and more health care costs in today’s market, according to HFMA. “People everywhere want to be smart health care consumers, but information about health care prices is not easily accessible,” said HFMA President and CEO Joseph J. Fifer.
HFMA developed a task force, which includes members from America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Hospital Association and the Catalyst for Payment Reform, to issue a series of principles for reaching price transparency. Insurers and providers can use the information to develop their own method to meet the principles.
Key recommendations include:
· Health plans should help members estimate their expected out-of-pocket costs based on their current deductible status, along with copayment and coinsurance information.
· Health plans often have access to price information for many providers in a given region, which they can use to help members factor price into their decision making process.
· Hospitals should continue to help uninsured patients identify alternatives for sharing their health care costs, including insurance options they may not be aware of.
· Hospitals should proactively communicate to all patients and community members—including the uninsured—that they may be eligible for financial assistance provided directly by the hospital.
· Taking insurance eligibility and financial assistance into account, hospitals should offer uninsured people clear information on how to receive price estimates.