May 13, 2019 – Transparency
Anchor lead: Does publishing lists of hospital charges help people understand their medical bills? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Hospitals are now required to publish a complete list of all of their charges, the federal government has mandated, so that consumers can attempt to understand the often Byzantine bills and explanations of benefits they get after a hospitalization. Redonda Miller, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, applauds the effort.
Miller: Price transparency is pretty key nowadays. When you think about the average American and how much each of us are spending on healthcare, and over the last five years we have seen a huge rise in high deductible plans. Almost half of adults in the US now have a high deductible insurance plan, where they’re paying $1500 or more out of pocket, before their insurance even kicks in. So as a patient, who one could argue is purchasing and consuming healthcare, it is really important that you understand what you’re paying for, and how much. :34
Miller notes that improvements to the so-called hospital charge masters are also underway to make them easier to navigate. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.