As the new year approaches, the new healthcare transparency rules will be a welcome sign to patients hit with hidden fees. On January 1, 2021, the price transparency rule, put in effect by the Department of Health and Human Services, will be activated. This rule requires hospitals to list their pricing in an online format accessible to the public. That will allow patients to compare pricing and see what options are best for them. No longer will hospital patients be blindsided with hidden fees and bills they did not see coming.
That should create competition in the market, which will make prices more affordable in one of the most expensive markets in the world and potentially cause a seismic change in how we view medical care from hospitals. However, this does not just benefit consumers. There are benefits for physicians, too. Doctors want affordable prices for their services to bring in more business, but most of it is out of the doctors’ hands. They are at the mercy of the insurance companies and government regulations, which often make prices unaffordable. With the prices known by all parties, this new rule cuts the middle man out of the equation.
That is a big step in the right direction to correcting a significant problem in the American healthcare system. Surprise billing can often cost consumers hundreds of dollars they did not see coming. For instance, if someone has surgery with a doctor in their insurance network, but the anesthesiologist is not, it could end up being a costly unforeseen bill.
The hospital systems and insurance companies profit so much from the current system that any changes may be unwelcome by them. It is essential that this legislation is enforced immediately and goes into effect to start lowering the prices American consumers pay for medical services.
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