"President Trump has promised American patients 'A+' healthcare transparency, but right now our system probably deserves an F on transparency. President Trump is going to change that, with what will be revolutionary changes for our healthcare system," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "Today's transparency announcement may be a more significant change to American healthcare markets than any other single thing we've done, by shining light on the costs of our shadowy system and finally putting the American patient in control."
Consistent with the Executive Order on price and quality transparency, the Trump Administration is taking action toward making sure that insured and uninsured Americans alike have the information necessary to get an accurate estimate of the cost of the healthcare services they are seeking before they receive care.
"Under the status quo, healthcare prices are about as clear as mud to patients," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "Thanks to President Trump's vision and leadership, we are throwing open the shutters and bringing to light the price of care for American consumers. Kept secret, these prices are simply dollar amounts on a ledger; disclosed, they deliver fuel to the engines of competition among hospitals and insurers. This final rule and the proposed rule will bring forward the transparency we need to finally begin reducing the overall healthcare costs. Today's rules usher in a new era that upends the status quo to empower patients and put them first."
In response to the Executive Order, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury (collectively, the Departments) are issuing a proposed rule, "Transparency in Coverage" that would require most employer-based group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group and individual coverage to disclose price and cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees up front. With this information, patients will have accurate estimates of any out-of-pocket costs they must pay to meet their plan's deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance requirements. This will make previously unavailable price information accessible to patients and other stakeholders in a standardized way, allowing for easy comparisons.
If finalized, the proposed Transparency in Coverage rule would require health plans to:
The proposed rule would also encourage health insurance issuers to offer new or different plan designs that incentivize consumers to shop for services from lower-cost, higher-value providers by allowing issuers to take credit for "shared savings" payments in their medical loss ratio (MLR) calculations.
In addition, the Administration is finalizing a rule that will require hospitals to provide patients with clear, accessible information about their "standard charges" for the items and services they provide, including through the use of standardized data elements, making it easier to shop and compare across hospitals, as well as mitigating surprises. The final rule will require hospitals to make their standard charges public in two ways beginning in 2021:
In order to ensure that hospitals comply with the requirements, the final rule provides CMS with new enforcement tools including monitoring, auditing, corrective action plans, and the ability to impose civil monetary penalties of $300 per day. In response to public comments, CMS is finalizing that the effective date of the final rule will be January 1, 2021 to ensure that hospitals have the time to be compliant with these policies.
For a fact sheet on the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) & Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public final rule (CMS-1717-F2), please visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/cy-2020-hospital-outpatient-prospective-payment-system-opps-policy-changes-hospital-price
For a fact sheet on the Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule (CMS-9915-P), please visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/transparency-coverage-proposed-rule-cms-9915-p
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