New Executive Order Requires “Shoppable” Hospital Pricing

These days, it can seem impossible to access official pricing information from hospitals. As this Vox video illustrates, hospitals do not publicly publish official documentation on the costs of different medical procedures, and it can be extremely difficult to access this information accurately as a patient. This means that no matter how routine a hospital medical procedure is, from an appendectomy to childbirth, there’s hardly any definitive ways for patients to know how much money they’ll be charged once they leave the hospital.

However, new legislation from the Trump Administration has been proposed in order to change this trend and provide patients with more financial clarity. On June 24th, an executive order was announced that, if approved, would require hospitals to openly provide “shoppable” pricing information for patients, listing pricing in “easy-to-read, patient friendly” formats.

The executive order would require both providers and insurers to provide detailed information about out-of-pocket hospital costs, direct administrators to lay out road maps for consolidating quality measures across federal healthcare programs, and expand the list of qualifying services and purchases for Health Savings Accounts, among other changes. 

These requirements from the executive order challenge traditional pricing practices in hospitals across the country, who have historically resisted advertising prices in order to avoid competition pricing and patient shopping between hospitals. Pricing can vary dramatically between hospitals for the same treatment, and the new order would promote universally equalized pricing for hospital services.

While industry leaders like the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) have come out in support of the executive order, they have each cited deep reservations about the order, fearing it may actually lead to overall pricing increases due to insurance-hospital pricing arrangements and competition between hospitals.

To read more about the executive order, and how it might change the future of American hospitals, healthcare, and insurance, click here.