Price Transparency In Healthcare
Patients Deserve Clear Information On The Price of Care
Most patients would like better information to help them decide what constitutes the best value care for them, yet understanding healthcare prices almost requires one to be both a health policy expert and an economist. Patients simply want to know if the care they are considering is of high quality, is safe, and is at a price they can afford.
Yet today healthcare is delivered as a series of grouped services in distinct, sometimes overlapping episodes of care. While these episodes may seem like a single care experience for the patient, they are frequently billed separately by hospitals, physicians and other care providers as if each service were selected à la carte. This makes it nearly impossible for patients to know how much they can expect to pay or to gauge the value of care before deciding on a treatment or where to receive it.
Standards, Transparency and Value
Transparency is a prerequisite of measuring health care value and a key driver of value improvement. The standardized episode definitions and clinical content provided and curated by the PACES Center facilitate equivalent comparisons of cost and quality that enable true transparency.
To enable patients to recognize value, achieving transparency both in cost and in quality is an indispensable step to allow for accurate comparisons and decision making. However, to achieve transparency, we must first have clarity as to what we are trying to make transparent for comparison and this process requires standards.
The comment letter below was recently submitted to the Federal Government in response to a proposed rule aimed at increasing transparency in pricing in the private insurance market. The letter is intended to be a step-by-step guide for policymakers on how to implement meaningful price transparency for patients.