In another blow to an industry already beleaguered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal judge recently upheld a federal rule that requires hospitals to engage in unprecedented price transparency measures. Health systems are likely preparing to comply with the new requirements even as they await the outcome of an appeal — but health insurers, too, are poised to feel an impact if the regulations go into effect.
The rule, which the administration proposed in July 2019 and finalized in November, would require hospitals to disclose the rates they negotiate with payers for all items and services they offer (HPW 8/5/19, p. 1). That comprehensive set of rates must be available in a machine-readable file online, and hospitals also must display payer-specific negotiated charges for a limited set of “shoppable” services in a consumer-friendly format. The rule is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, but the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other trade groups and health systems sued to block it.