The Trump Administration finalized a requirement Thursday that forces health insurers to be transparent and show consumers the actual costs for common tests and procedures up front.
Beginning in 2022, insurance providers will have to make data files on the costs of various procedures, which will then allow technology companies to design apps that allow patients to see the cost of treatment bother under their own plan along with the costs under other insurance providers, according to the Associated Press.
By 2023, insurance providers will have to make their policyholders cost-sharing details on 500 specific services, medical equipment and other items available. And in 2024, insurance providers will have to make all cost information available regarding any service or good they cover, per the same report.
“Health insurance companies will finally be required to disclose to the public the price they pay for covered services and prescription drugs,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “Today’s rule on insurer price transparency follows through on that commitment to give patients unprecedented visibility into their care and how much it costs.”
“We need to keep pricing on the front end, not the back end,” Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said, per the AP. “We have seen in every single industry that when this information is provided to consumers, it creates a new era of consumerism.”
The finalization comes a month after President Donald Trump signed a slew of Executive Orders directing the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure “consumers have access to meaningful price and qualify information” before they receive care. (RELATED: Health Care Costs Are An Urgent Problem, But Price Transparency Is Not The Solution, Two Health Industry Professional Say)
Trump’s recent efforts to tackle the issue of healthcare come more than a year after he signed an Executive Order to make healthcare pricing more transparent, requiring hospitals to disclose in advance the cost of service.
In the Grand Foyer of the WH, Pres Trump about to sign Exec Order to make healthcare quality and pricing more transparent. For example, HHS will require hospitals to disclose in advance – prices that reflect what patients and insurers actually pay. pic.twitter.com/uTJSIYIPig
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 24, 2019
However, hospitals fought back, arguing the requirements were a violation of the First Amendment.
The Trump Administration responded to the lawsuit saying “Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost … before they purchase it.”
“Hospitals should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost…before they purchase it,” said the Trump admin.
7 hospitals and hospital groups filed a lawsuit to try to block the recently announced transparent pricing rule.https://t.co/XpQEsYswWd
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) December 5, 2019
In June of 2020, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, with U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols saying the rule was reasonable in that it related to the government’s interest in lowering healthcare costs, according to Reuters.
“Plaintiffs are essentially attacking transparency measures generally, which are intended to enable consumers to make informed decisions,” Nichols wrote, per Reuters.