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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Hospitals soon required to post all prices online

Hospitals will be required to post standard prices online starting January 1, 2019. While this is a step in the right direction of enabling free market consumer choice, it is important to note the federal rule will only require standard rates be posted online. Standard rates are similar to list prices, meaning it is the sticker price before insurance contractual adjustments and patient copay obligations. Let's take a coloring marker as an example. The hospital standard rate for the marker may be $100. The contracted insurance price may say the marker is actually worth $55. The patient's insurance contract may indicate the insurance will pay $45 and the patient $10. So, ultimately for you, the patient, the crux of the matter is $10. But, what you will see online when shopping for a marker is a price of $100 (your personal financial obligation remains hidden). Some facilities, like the Mayo Clinic, have made an effort to give patient-side estimates by accounting for your method of payment with an online "cost estimator" ( Other facilities are rolling out similar cost estimators which is a more meaningful step than the minimum required "standard rate" posting. Personal Thanks: Thank you all for supporting my humble blog in our quest to improve health literacy in the Brazos Valley. Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. This means one needs to have a comprehensive understanding which includes medical information, health systems management, behavioral economics and so much more. I hope this blog has made some inroads in this regard since its inception. Let's looking forward to making the Brazos Valley the most health literate community in Texas in 2019. Happy New Year!
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD

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