Pricing Transparency Could Help Lower America’s Sky-high Health Care Costs

Imagine being able to shop for a knee-replacement surgery the way most people shop for a flight — by comparing prices on a website like Orbitz or Cheapflights.com, and understanding the full cost of exactly what you’re getting before shelling out your hard-earned money.It’s hard to imagine because hospitals, doctors and other health care providers guard the prices they negotiate with insurance companies for medical services with, one might say, our lives. Providers and insurers have long regarded prices as proprietary, shrouding them in secrecy through confidentiality agreements.But last month the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services called for public comment on a rule change that would pull back the veil on the byzantine pricing systems and discounts negotiated between providers and insurers, bringing much-needed transparency to the health care industry.  Continue reading...

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